A story by Quarriers
The project was to create another Dual Breaks Club for carers in another Local Authority area, this being Inverclyde as well as the existing club in Renfrewshire. This has allowed carers the opportunity and peace of mind to take a break either with, or without the person they Care For.
What Get Creative did
We delivered two sessions per month one in Linwood Tweedie Hall in Renfrewshire and one in the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock Inverclyde. There was space available as chill out space for families who chose to use the opportunity for peer support. The venues are close to shops and amenities and have good parking facilities and disabled access. We communicated to beneficiaries through social media, lettering, posters, newsletters and emails to families and social workers.
Most carers who used the service chose to spend a short time catching up with each other (approximately 30 minutes) then using the local shops, visiting family members, going to the library, shopping, going to the movies or going for walks. Some family members participated in the activities which are music based and fun- aimed at all abilities.
To make the project successful we created several staff dedicated to the project as we struggled to obtain Volunteers. We also utilised our mailing lists and found the Social Workers to be very helpful in spreading the word. In terms of priority areas the project covered ‘carers will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside the caring role’ ‘Carers feeling better supported to sustain their caring role’ and carers and the people they care for will have improved well-being’.
In these areas the project went according to plan, a particular success was with one young lady, whose mother is elderly and both live in a deprived area lacking social amenities. The pickup service made it possible for her to access the project and has given her and her mother a break from the isolation with the young lady enjoying the activities and mum enjoys having her feet up and not worrying about her daughter. ‘It helps recharge my batteries’ she commented.
What Quarriers has learned
The families most in need of support tend to be the quieter families, single mothers who are older and at risk of social isolation. Being more active in contacting these families was necessary to encourage attendance through support and explanation. We have also learned that establishing a project of this kind takes time.
Attendance has been gradually building and there is scope for future partnership working on transitions for families and individuals who are moving to supported living and struggling with all the change. The project can provide a consistency for people in a time of change, also this will naturally lead the project to working with other organisations. In terms of unexpected opportunities some of the families have suggested a carers forum on line. This is something we are planning to consult with families on and look at ways of delivering this.
How Quarriers has benefitted from the funding
The organisation has had the opportunity to pilot a new project. This project has helped build staff strength knowledge and capacity as well as providing an organisational presence in the community which is positive. The project has highlighted a lack of research in terms of respite breaks for carers of adults with disabilities. The services are looking to gather some information from the carers with a view to shaping further services.
Carers will feel less stressed and more confident Cared-for will have fun, be active, expand their social circle and feel more confident.
Carers have had the opportunity to network or to have time with friends and family that they would otherwise not have had. Building relationships and having the opportunity to strengthen peer supports for the carer.
One young man lives with his elderly mother who is a single parent. She struggles as most activities she must accompany him to. He does not attend day supports and she felt that ' My whole life revolved around X' Now she has been able to see family members and catch up with friends twice per month and she feels that the clubs have been a 'godsend, they help me have the freedom to feel like part of a bigger family again, I feel so much better in myself' The club has clearly helped her well-being. In terms of her son he is able to socialise without his mum and as a young adult this is important for building relationships and his well-being.
Carers will have regular opportunities to take a break with time to spend as they choose. Carers will have opportunities to meet and socialise with other Carers.
This outcome was achieved as a break out area was provided for carers to network with each other and several carers have become friendly with each other. Other carers have been able to use the time as they choose and are able to access the local amenities or visit family members or friends. One carer uses the opportunity to relax and put her feet up which helps her recharge her batteries.
There are three families who use the service who did socialise outwith the service. However they would socialise with their sons as their sons have autism and the three support each other to support the boys. These ladies have used the time to be able to go for coffee together and do some shopping which they have never done as a group before. The club has provided them with a rare chance to have friends social time together without the caring role being part of the experience. One of the mothers said 'it feels like being a teenager again, going clothes shopping and having a laugh'
Carers will benefit from peer support, Carers will have improved knowledge of additional support available to them and how to access it.
This outcome was only partially met. The carers center's contacted were too busy to come and have a presence at the clubs. Possibly due to it being a Saturday so the knowledge shared was word of mouth from other carers.
In terms of peer support one mother found it difficult to leave her son who has autism. She appeared to have separation anxiety. One of the other mothers befriended her and encouraged her to go for coffees. Now she feels confident in being able to leave her son in his surroundings through the support of her fellow carer. This has had a positive change on her son as well as herself. She is now saying that she is feeling ' a bit more able to look at accessing other day supports through Renfrewshire Carers Centre, and the enable club is also great. I didn't know these things existed'