A story by East Renfrewshire Carers' Centre
The Golden Time Project provided carers with opportunities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Individual aromatherapy sessions were combined with group activities, yoga, mindfulness, relaxation & stress management.
Sessions were delivered in locations across East Renfrewshire .
What Golden Time did
64 carers accessed individual aromatherapy sessions with each carer being offered 6 * 45 minute sessions with a qualified therapist, In addition to this we provided group activity sessions in yoga, mindfulness, relaxation and stress management.
To deliver the aromatherapy sessions we partnered with 2 local businesses. It can be challenging to travel across East Renfrewshire so we selected a business in “each side” of the local authority.
Similarly the group activities were delivered in community venues across East Renfrewshire and delivered at various times. The sessions lasted for a maximum of 2 hours as for many carers this meant that the person they care for could be left without having to provide additional care arrangements
The participants were all adult carers who in line with the funding guidelines care for another adult. Carers’ Centre staff routinely provide 1:1 support and carers with poorer physical and mental health were identified through staff knowledge before all activities were promoted through our newsletter and website.
Carers have commented on the quality of the service provided by the aroma therapists. The funding we received would have paid for 6 * 30 minute sessions but both businesses agreed to extend this to 45 minutes free of charge.
Carers have commented on the quality of the service provided by the aroma therapists. The funding we received would have paid for 6 * 30 minute
What East Renfrewshire Carers' Centre has learned
Project Planning and budgeting, we have in the past been able to provide aroma-therapies by providing a therapist based in the Centre. This left the Centre with admin responsibilities around appointments, and particularly cancellations as well as increased work dealing with things like laundry, health & safety etc.
Appointments also had to work around the availability of the therapist.
We decided this time to partner with two local businesses to deliver the aromatherapy sessions. This freed the Centre of any additional admin responsibilities but more importantly the carers were able to organise the sessions in a place and time that was convenient to them.
Targeting families most in need of support, we knew that the opportunities particularly the aromatherapy sessions would be popular with demand being greater than availability. Once the project practicalities were in place staff were able to identify and promote the opportunities to carers they were or had worked with and who the staff knew would benefit. Only after this did we promote the opportunities to the wider group of carers known to the Centre.
Developing new short break activities, our short breaks activity was based around carers health and well-being and although we provided what we thought was a good range of opportunities when we promoted the activities carers identified other activities that they would benefit from. These included CBT and walking groups and we were able to identify partners to deliver these with and although no funding was required to deliver these activities we included these in the programme of opportunities.
Through the Carers Act Implementation Group we have been able to promote and highlight the opportunities provided by the Creative Breaks Fund to staff across the health & social care partnership. Many staff still have traditional views of what a short break is and through promoting this type of activity we hope to influence culture, practice and attitude.
The Golden Time Project will be put forward for inclusion in the updated short breaks statement for East Renfrewshire.
How East Renfrewshire Carers' Centre has benefitted from the funding
Without doubt being able to deliver the Golden Time project has raised the profile and credibility of the Centre among carers and referral sources particularly health and social care teams. Through the feedback we have received we also have a strong evidence base of the demand and outcomes that providing carers with short breaks linked to health and well-being activities provides and this will be used to inform our service development plans and fundraising.
Some carers will have participated in all or a number of activities and spent time improving their health & wellbeing over the course of the year.
75% of participants will report that they enjoyed taking part in the sessions and they gave a break from their caring role. The individual aromatherapy sessions were evaluated positively by 100% of participants and we have never received such positive feedback from carers about the quality of the service received The same percentage applies to the group sessions with only a few minor criticism about the venue such as heat, noise or comfort.
Several years ago the Centre was able to offer carers aromatherapy sessions but unfortunately budget pressures meant we could no longer provide this. Since this point when we evaluate our service, this is one criticism that regularly comes up. During the consultation phase about submitting a Creative Breaks application, carers again told us this is the one service that they would benefit from. Previously when aromatherapy sessions were provided, the therapist came to the Centre. The Centre was responsible for the admin around appointments, bookings and payment and was also responsible for, cleaning, laundry and setting up the room. We wanted to provide this service but were reluctant to go back to this approach. For the Golden Time Project we entered into a partnership with 2 businesses that provided a good geographical cover of East Renfrewshire. The proposal was that the funding would provide carers with 6 sessions each lasting 30 minutes however both businesses agreed that they would increase each session to 45 minutes at no additional cost. The staff used their knowledge of the carers they were supporting to offer these appointments to carers they knew would really benefit. Only after this did we open it out for other carers to request a place. Once we had the 64 names we passed these to the aromatherapists and the carers were able to book their sessions at a time and location that was convenient to them. "I have loved each and every session, came away feeling great and ready to take on the world." "Very relaxing, providing time for me." "I didn't know what to hope for - but understood could be good for me, now I know it is! " A great stress buster!" 50% of participants will continue to participate in some form of activity after the sessions end. We haven't had time to quantify this among those that participated but know about 20 carers have continued to access aromatherapy sessions. "Now I have had these sessions i am encouraged to find a regular class. It is very helpful and practical time for me." "Would really like to continue with yoga."
Additional project outcome
All carers participating in the sessions will report that this activity has improved their physical and or emotional health. 100% of carers have given positive feedback of the sessions with many indicating they intend to carry on accessing a similar support.
In addition to the individual sessions we provided group sessions on Stress Management, relaxation and Yoga Mindfulness. Each session was offered twice and we alternated between venues and times to ensure as many carers as possible could participate. All courses were full at the time of starting although not all carers could attend every session. The funding was used to pay for specialist tutors and all venue hire. We used the Centres own funds to ensure that no carers were excluded because of requiring replacement care or transport. The sessions were designed to work within the physical abilities of all participants and evaluated very positively although there was some minor criticism of the venues we used. Quotes from carers feedback, "Enjoyed quiet time, enjoyed doing gentle exercise." Excellent course, well presented." "Very relaxing, helped ease the aches and pains." "Left feeling relaxed." "I have loved each and every session. Came away feeling great and ready to take on the world."
Additional project outcome
Referral agencies and carers will have increased awareness of carers services and the support available.
Despite routine awareness-raising sessions, many health & social care staff don't really appreciate or know about the full range of support available through Carers' Centres. We were able to promote the Golden Time Project and carers emotional well-being is on a par with information and advice as our main referral reason.