A story by Quarriers
Our pilot project provided music-based activities for 35 adults with disabilities, in monthly 3-hour sessions in a community venue within Renfrewshire.
This also provided 52 carers from Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Glasgow with opportunities to take regular breaks, either with or without the person they care for.
What Get Creative did
We have delivered 3-hour monthly social events for carers of adults with physical and/or learning disabilities alongside music, exercise and game based activities for the people they care for.
These events have been held on the first Saturday of each month in an easily accessible community venue, Tweedy Hall in Linwood which is close to the motorway, a retail park, supermarkets, cinema, gym and swimming pool. Carers could choose to join in the music, exercise or game based activities with those they care for, to make use of a separate room within the venue to socialise with other carers or to spend the time as they wished making use of the local facilities.
This flexibility enabled each carer to choose what is best for them, meeting the Creative Break's choice and control priority. Some chose to join in the activities for a short time and then go for a coffee with other Carers, some chose to use the time to go shopping and others chose to spend quality time with family and friends.
Cared for adults had the opportunity to socialise and to try new experiences such as Oomph which combines movement with games and music to make exercise fun and music workshops which involve making, decorating and playing musical shaker instruments. We also recruited a volunteer to provide additional support at the monthly events.
The beneficiaries of the club were carers and those they care for who access Quarriers respite services in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Glasgow, many of whom have had their residential respite allowances drastically reduced and were in need of additional short breaks.
A challenge identified during this project was in reaching those not supported by Quarriers services. To address this as we continue with this project we will be making more use of social media and promoting the events to local Social Workers, Carers Centres and Social Housing providers to extend the reach of the events and to provide support to those Carers most in need of a break.
What Quarriers has learned
We have learned more about developing new short breaks activities. This was a pilot project and we learnt a great deal about co-design of the project with the beneficiaries working together to design an effective project to meet their needs.
We have learned the importance of ongoing regular feedback to ensure the project is being delivered in the most effective way. The project was designed through extensive consultations with carers and those they care for, however as a pilot project, we felt it vitally important to receive regular ongoing feedback from beneficiaries to ensure the intended benefits were being received. As a result of this ongoing feedback, we were able to make prompt changes to project delivery to increase effectiveness.
We have learned about reaching out to carers and promoting our project. We have made use of a variety of methods to promote awareness of our project including use of social media, posters, flyers. As our project progresses in to year 2 we hope to build upon what we have learned and promote the events to local Social Workers, Carers Centres and Social Housing providers to extend the reach of the events and to provide support to those Carers most in need of a break.
How Quarriers has benefitted from the funding
Our organisation has benefitted from being able to pilot a new project. This has met the short breaks needs of carers and those they care for and also provided a fantastic learning opportunity for our organisation to be able to design and develop the project to see what works and what changes are required to make this project sustainable in the long-term and extend the benefits to both carers and those they care for. Our organisation has benefited from a strengthened reputation. By promoting our project within the local communities and holding our monthly events in community venues our organisations profile has been increased. Also, the positive feedback received from beneficiaries of the project have and will spread by word-of-mouth and will further strengthen our reputation. Our organisation has benefitted from developing and strengthening links with local Social Workers, Carers Centres and Social Housing providers who we will work more closely with in the future to extend the reach of the project and to provide support to those Carers most in need of a break.
Carers feel less socially isolated; cared-for have increased access to leisure activities of their choice.
52 carers have enjoyed the chance to take a break during monthly activities. 35 cared-for people have accessed a variety of creative and stimulating activities. Of the 26 completed questionnaires returned to us, 25 carers agreed that as a result of the monthly events they had the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, get back in touch with friends or spend quality time with family. All 26 agreed they had opportunities to take a break from caring, with time to spend how they wanted to.
When the club started one of the first people to take part and now a regular is A, his mother and father are his main carers. They have taken the opportunity to spend quality leisure time together which was not possible before this at the weekends. They are really happy that their son has a place to go where he is really enjoying the activities to the point where he asks to go days before the event. Due to work and family commitments as well as reduced day service provision they had very little time together prior to the club. They are less socially isolated and feel their son is also.
Carers will benefit from peer support and the opportunity to make friends whilst having a break from caring. Carers will have regular opportunities for respite and time to do other things away from caring.
52 carers have had regular opportunities for respite and to do other things away from caring. 52 carers have increased circles of support. Of the 26 completed questionnaires returned to us, 25 carers agreed that as a result of the monthly events they had the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, get back in touch with friends or spend quality time with family. All 26 carers agreed that as a result of the monthly events they felt they had more time to spend on themselves outwith their caring roles.
Prior to the club B was reluctant to attend respite services. B is high on the Autistic Spectrum and his Mother is his main carer. Her caring role takes up most of her time which means she has little time to spend with her other children and new grandchild. Since coming to the club B has become more confident being away from his main carer and starting to attend respite services more frequently. The club has helped him increase his confidence to be away from his main carer and attend respite services and enabled his carer to spend quality time and bond with her new grandchild. She has also built a network of friends who she can share support and advice with.
Carers will benefit from sustained short breaks, and will have been given the opportunity to constitute their group and support each other to continue to provide long-term access to short breaks.
Carers chose not to constitute their group as yet, however we hope that as we progress with year 2 of the project their confidence will grow to take ownership and control of the group. While the group did not become constituted, carers have greatly benefited from these short breaks. Of the 26 completed questionnaires returned to us, all 26 carers agreed that as a result of the monthly events they felt less stressed. 23 felt improved well being, and 23 felt more able to sustain their caring role.
C's main carer is his mum. She struggles at times with her own health and felt in need of additional support to sustain her caring role. The club has been invaluable to her, providing opportunities at the weekend to allow her to spend time having a rest from her role. She is able to divide the time between resting and spending quality time with her other child. This is a big help for her in sustaining her caring role and also in sustaining a good relationship with her children.
Additional project outcome
To reach those carers in most need of a break
D lives alone with her mother, her main carer. Due to D suffering from a high level of anxiety she had been reluctant to attend the club and any other respite services. As a result, her carer was not able to take any breaks from her challenging carer role and both the Carer and D felt socially isolated. To enable them to access the club we arranged for a volunteer to provide one-to-one support for D to allow her to attend the club and for her carer to access much-needed breaks.