Happy and Healthy
A story by Renfrewshire Carers Centre
We provided a range of respite activities to enable Adult Carers and Young Carers to get out and about whilst providing opportunities for them to maintain their mental and physical health and well-being ranging from football, outings, physical fitness classes and singing.
What Happy and Healthy did
We provided a variety of different activities responding to the feedback from the different age groups. For our Young Carers we provided a football group for young people to participate in on a weekly basis at a local outdoor football venue. We worked in partnership with active Communities who provided a football coach and had 18 young carers attending and had to expand to 2 football pitches. The football was enjoyed by both boys and girls. We also ran an easter football camp for the young carers.
We put on 2 outings for 54 of our Young Carers to Heads of Ayr and M & D's giving them the opportunity to have fun and try new experiences
We put on various workshops including an opportunity to be involved in the circus with a workshop with the Glasgow Community Circus. Had pamper sessions trying a relaxing facial, nails painted, aromatherapy workshops and outings to the cinema etc. The YC got an opportunity to take part in 12 sessions of dance classes which they loved letting them express themselves.
Our YC also take part in an allotment where they grow their own vegetables and fruit and get to enjoy cooking the food they had grown with the other allotment users. All of this has given the YC the opportunity to try new skills and experiences with the peer support of other young people whilst getting involved in their community.
We held drumming classes for both our YC and adult carers a fantastic way to express themselves. Adult Carers gave very positive feedback about the fitness sessions both individual PT and group sessions. Individual sessions gave the carer the confidence to take part in local classes. Because of the positive impact these classes had we ran them again as we were over subscribed for the first round of activities.
The Centre's choir which used to perform for local community groups and raise the awareness of carers all but stopped during Covid and through happy and healthy funding we were able to re start this group- music can be very powerful and great at reducing stress for this group.
Pamper sessions have been held for the YAC and adult carers enabling them to learn to de-stress
What Renfrewshire Carers Centre has learned
We have learned that sometimes what you plan does not always happen. We had planned different activities to some of those we implemented- this was based on what the Carers told us.
Some activities were very popular and over-subscribed and some we didn't get the response we expected even after initially asking carers what they wanted- therefore we changed some activities. We developed new partners such as the community circus - where we paid for circus skills workshops but in return, they put on a free session for us.
How Renfrewshire Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
It has enabled us to make new partnerships with other organisations including community circus, dance dreams, active communities etc and provide new opportunities for carers and make them carer aware. It has enabled us to extend the range of services we provide to carers which has helped us to assist more carers and attract new carers to the centre. The publicity from the activities has also been really positive.
160 yc and adult carers will report improved well-being through use of well-being tools. 243 Carers will have had the opportunity to take part in at least one out of 10 activities provided
Evaluations carried out after activities showed that the physical and mental health well-being of both young and adult carers was achieved. Physical fitness was improved through football, dance classes, PT individual and group sessions. Mental health well-being was improved through therapies, drumming, choir, training courses on mindfulness, relaxation and looking after yourself The allotment enabled Young Carers to grow their own fruit and vegetables learn about health eating and cooking the food they had grown.
Brian when first came to the Centre he lacked self-confidence, was feeling very isolated and was struggling with the demands and changes his caring responsibilities had placed on him as he had given up his job to care. He started to attend the male carers group and through this found out about other centre services. Encouraged by other carers he took part in the PT individual sessions. Brain would have been uncomfortable attending a group PT session as this was mainly attended by females and also because he was embarrassed by his lack of fitness wanted to do this on an individual basis to build up his fitness by his own pace. This opportunity has given him the confidence to now join his local gym funded through Time to Live funding. Feeling better about himself both physically and mentally he has grown in self-confidence, and this has seen him attend many social events, training courses which have broadened his experiences and knowledge. His own health and wellbeing have improved and he feels better equipped to deal with and cope with his caring responsibilities.
Carers will have had an opportunity to enjoy taking part in an activity out with their caring role. 93 YC will have an opportunity to participate in activities away from their caring role. 150 adult carers will participate in activities out with their caring role.
The activities the centre was able to put on due to Creative breaks funding enabled Young and Adult Carers to take part in various activities out with their caring role giving them a break from their caring role. Young Carers were able to try a range of opportunities to try and visit new places - some young carers have gone on and pursued different sports within their own communities after been given this opportunity. Similarly, our adult carers got a break from their caring role through a range of physical and mental well-being activities which they can continue to implement on their own and have a life outside of caring.
We provided Free, weekly, non-competitive football training for young carers in Partnership with Active Communities. There are so many positive impacts of playing. Football reduces isolation, reduces stress and like any other physically demanding sport improves sleep. Evidence suggests 60 minutes of football can reduce risk of major illness, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. From the moment young carers arrive, we check in how they are, alongside warm-ups, skills practice, and games. Several of our players have progressed on to local football clubs. We are currently supporting one of our players to get funding in March 2023 for their SFA coaching badges when they turn 16 years! We have fun, friendships and I am blown away to see everyone progress. Although I accept some young carers will never go on to local Football Clubs. They can’t commit to being there every week, costs, being on time, traveling to football games due to the nature of their caring roles. When they come to our group its free. They are welcomed regardless of if they are running late & they have been absent. Some of our group members are not greatly skilled at football but love playing, to be included, keep fit and appreciate the camaraderie. The establishment of the football group has enabled us to obtain 40 tickets free tickets for our football group for St Mirren games through our Partnership with Youth Services, Street Stuff Street Stuff where Young Carers are included in their wider community to share their passion for the game.
243 carers will get support from their peers and share experiences. 150 carers will report they feel better supported
All of the above outcomes are inter linked as enabling carers to have a life outside of caring and improving their health and well-being will enable carers to feel better supported to sustain their caring role. Evaluations undertaken overwhelmingly said carers they felt better able to sustain their caring role. Carers had more confidence, self- esteem, felt less isolated and part of the caring community within the Centre.
June a carer looking after her mum with dementia and initially contacted the centre to take part in one of our training courses on dementia. On finding out more about the centre services June had explained that she used to be part of her church choir and greatly missed the joy she got from singing. Singing helps reduce both mental and physical problems such as stress, anxiety, isolation, and is known to release endorphins which are a natural mood lifter. Other benefits of singing include increased lung capacity (Heart Research UK) - one of the other carers in the choir stated that her asthma had improved considerably. June was a bit apprehensive but came along to the choir rehearsals and loved every minute and is now a key member of the choir. It has helped her mental well-being and helps her to de-stress and ultimately help her to continue in her caring role by having that time out and reducing her stress. The choir also has an important role in raising the awareness of carers when they are performing out in the community and have the added benefit of raising the Centre's profile.