Creative Breaks Aberdeenshire
A story by VSA Aberdeenshire
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Aberdeenshire, to plan and pay for a short break of their choice.
What Creative Breaks Aberdeenshire did
Over the past year we have seen an increase in the number times we have had to convene a "virtual panel" for due to the geographical nature of Aberdeenshire and the availability of partners to meet. As a consequence of this we have had to review our IT procedures and ensure that all applications considered by the virtual panel are sent password protected, with a separate e-mail detailing the password.
This has been very successful and a useful addition to our scheduled monthly panels that take place on a rotational basis across Aberdeenshire. We have continued to advertise our funding through our Carers Support and Development Workers, colleagues in Aberdeenshire Council, Grampian Health Board etc across Aberdeenshire. VSA, Aberdeenshire Council and NHS Grampian have also included this information on relevant website pages.
Our Carers Support and Development Workers have been encouraged to support Carers in being more creative in their applications and opportunities to explore alternative short break options. We have used the grants to support a range of opportunities for carers including; group work activities, short holiday breaks and "wee treats" including therapies, manicures and hair appointments.
Whilst Mrs S understood the reasons for the additional support she found it difficult to adapt to the change. Mrs S expressed an interest in attending counselling sessions and accessed the Time To Live Fund to meet the costs of private counselling sessions.
The family made an application to have a short weekend break in Edinburgh to see the Christmas attractions. This recharged her batteries and the hotel stay lessened some of her caring responsibilties for a few days
What VSA Aberdeenshire has learnedOver the past year we have looked at using IT to facilitate panels due to the geographical nature of Aberdeenshire- this has proved beneficial although we have had to account for arising data protection issues.
Through promoting the fund we have also been able to further raise awareness of the carers service and support available to unpaid carers, carers staff and carers are now beginning to look at alternative ways of achieving a short break or ways of supporting them selves to sustain their caring roles.