A story by Fife Voluntary Action
We provided grants directly to carers who are over 20 years of age and resident in Fife.
What Creative Breaks did
Following on from the last round of Creative Breaks Funding our project continued to deliver direct distribution of short breaks funding to carers in Fife. In addition we also distributed funds specifically allocated to Autism. With the support of our partners on the monthly panel, Fife Carers Centre, Fife Young Carers, Crossroads and an individual Carer we continue to promote the fund and assist with the assessment of applications. For the Autism applications we brought two additional members from Autism in Fife and The One Stop Shop Dunfermline on to the panel specifically to help us with those applications.
In addition to the usual advertising via our website and partners publicity materials, the leaflet designed last year has been widely distributed to organisations that have contact with Carers as well as centres and other venues across Fife. Two press releases also ensured that we generated some articles in the local press for the Fund broadening the reach of our project.
Our application form and guidance is available online and for those who need it our staff and partners are happy and pleased to offer further guidance in completing the form. After each monthly panel meeting our team process the awards and notify all the candidates of the outcome. The post break telephone evaluation form has proved very useful in developing our service and guidance on types of breaks for carers.
Following the successful break where she reflected on the changes that had occurred, she came back revitalised and reported that she was now able to appreciate what she had and not to focus on what she did not have. Her husband also reported that he could see huge changes in his wife.
Following her break she reported that it "was good not to feel guilty about using any of the household money to pay for the break." that she felt refreshed and recognised the importance of taking a break and now makes time to go to the gym 3 times a week.
CH is going out more, saving money on taxis and public transport, becoming more independent and spending more quality time with her Mum. CH reported that passing her test has helped her feel "more confident" and "taken a weight of her shoulders" so that she is now looking forward to planning well into the future including saving up to buy a car of her own. CH also reported that it "was nice to know there was help out there, if needed".
What Fife Voluntary Action has learnedOur project has been running successfully for 4 years now. Our processes are regularly reviewed and tweaked but well established. This year, with the introduction of two new members to the panel for the Autism Fund, the panel collectively and individually expanded their knowledge on autism and the particular concerns of carers in this area.
Last year's leaflet has continued to expand the reach of the fund with many people contacting the project who have no formal contact with caring support organisations in Fife as a result we have revised our communications to include details of sources of support across Fife for carers.
We continue to promote the fund widely through press and word of mouth raising awareness of the importance of carers taking a break and the benefits that such a break has on the sustainability of the caring role. In addition we continue to raise awareness of the fund and the importance of breaks within the BME Communities through our newly established Equalities Hub.