Falkirk Creative Breaks
A story by The Action Group
Falkirk Creative Breaks is an exciting group that enables parent/cares to have a break from there caring role. To make this happen we provide fun days out and weekends away for their loved ones with additional support needs, this also gives the cared for person an opportunity to make new friends.
What Falkirk Creative Breaks did
We had days out on the last Sunday of each month, this let parent/cares plan ahead. Pre Covid-we delivered fun days out to: SECC Carnival, The Escape rooms, Day out to Royal Yacht Britannia a few days due to weather were held at Elgin park, these days involved local people coming into the hub to give sessions on baking, craft work and dance /movement.
When Covid lockdown came into place this effected people in different ways, we had one autistic person happy that when out and about people had to keep there distance and gatherings were limited, even staying at home was something they enjoyed. However this was not the same for most people, parent/carers struggled when it was a full lockdown and said they befitted from the digital events we were running, this varied from online disco’s, fitness class (this was ran by a person that used to attend Creative Breaks) to weekly challenges eg send a picture of you helping around the house, something you have made. This may not have been as good as the normal breaks but feedback was it was good to have something to focus on.
We have links with social workers, local branch Enable, Grangemouth carers, we also promote Creative breaks on out local Facebook page and of course word of mouth, this enables us to make sure we reach unpaid carers that need a break. Feedback from parent/cares is they used their time in a variety of ways, some of which are: to concentrate on other members of their family, have some time to themselves, one person said “getting space and time to get on top of housework or some DIY is a blessing”
When we use the hub we are fortunate we don’t have to purchase any equipment, we do have to replace any of the material we use e.g. crafting resources, clay, baking/cooking materials, one person that sometime comes along has a fee as she is teaching dance/movement class., we also have a local person that can come at short notice to volunteer their skills in crafting methods.
What The Action Group has learned
We have learned that planning is better if everyone is involved. It is easy to sit and plan a year full of activities but maybe get it wrong whereas it is much easier if we involve everyone and share ideas and experiences. We have managed to reach out and get to know many more families by being on social media and reaching out to friends of friends.
We have learned that there are indeed other ways of providing help and support other than face to face due to covid 19. We have learned how to become digital and how to share this. We have had to think about what activities we can do digitally and how to help each other achieve this while thinking of internet safety and security. We understand that parent/carers benefit form time on there own and not getting away this year as well as COVID restriction has been difficult. We have used some of the time calling and speaking to parent/carers.
How The Action Group has benefitted from the funding
We have developed links with local businesses who now make donations to the project, such as ASDA who occasionally donate some food or baking supplies, The Escape rooms in the town now know us and have said they would be happy to give us a discount. The parent/cares reinforced creative breaks has helped and has praised the service, this positivity has helped with recruitment within our organisation. . We have built our knowledge on adapting various communication methods, planning and organisation skills have improved for some staff. We have also trained some staff in Epilepsy rescue medication.
Up to 30 carers will have another option to choose; will feel supported; and able to enjoy a break which will in turn enable them to cope better, and increase their wellbeing. Those cared for will enjoy social relationships and activities which result in improved wellbeing .
Looking at feedback from parent/cares the project offered positive methods of providing a break from their caring responsibilities; they feel more connected to services and people. We were able to signpost people to resources. Through individual feedback, evaluations we looked at learning, best practice and identified there was a need for Epilepsy emergency medication training
We had CB from 10-4 on a Sunday once a month. His mum was always rushing around, always late and always reported of not coping with life. She never felt as though she had any time for herself and her health and wellbeing suffered. Since bringing to CB to the group she became friends with another mum and started to have a conversation at drop off and pick up times. They developed a bond and began going for a walk after dropping off they sometimes managed to go for lunch as well and the other mum who was a hairdresser would do her hair for her. CB's mum said she could never have found this time for herself without Creative Breaks. Creative Breaks gave her a fresh outlook on life and a different perspective, some exercise and ‘me time’ to look forward to.
We will design a questionnaire which will ask carers about their caring experience, their relationships and activities out with their caring role, the support they receive and the impact on their wellbeing. Carers will be asked to complete this questionnaire at point during the project.
We designed a questionnaire which asked carers about their caring experience, their relationships and activities out with their caring role, the support they receive and the impact on their wellbeing.
Sometimes parents feel they are on a hamster wheel and they can not get off. Creative Breaks stopped that cycle and provided 6 hours of respite. One mum reported that she went home, tidied up the house, practiced some mindfulness and rested for the rest of day. Although the time went in quickly she felt she had enough of a ‘break’ to be able to start again. She said to have that ‘day off’ was vital to have to look forward to. She also enjoyed dropping off as she could have a chat with other mums and dads and that made her feel better. She also takes comfort in knowing that The Action Group has resources if she had any questions.
Up to 30 carers will report that they feel supported and more able to sustain their caring role.
We ask carers about their caring experience, their relationships and activities out with their caring role, the support they receive and the impact on their wellbeing. Carers completed questionnaires at the beginning of the project.
We supported AR at a day group we ran. Her main carers are her brother and his wife who both work. They had a family friend who often came and took AR out at the weekend to give them a break to do something other than work and care for AR, sadly the family friend has developed a serious illness and is having treatment. She approached us to see if there was anything we could do to help and I suggested Creative Breaks, AR already knew a lot of the people and fitted in well. This provided some time at the weekend to replace the respite they have lost.. AR’s sister in law and her husband feel they are better equipped to sustain their caring role.