A story by Quarriers
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Moray
What Moray Breaks did
To maximise equality of access to the fund particularly for under-served and hard-to reach groups, the opportunity to apply for a break was advertised broadly, with mailings to all registered unpaid Carers, distribution of leaflets and posters to local professionals and amenities, and advertising in local publications and newsletters. Promotional materials encouraged Carers to seek assistance from Quarriers in completing their application, so that staff could help them identify the most suitable break design, and reassure them as to the suitability of any care provision involved.
Applications for short breaks were reviewed quarterly by a panel comprised of representatives of Quarriers, a District Nurse, a Community Care Officer, a senior Social Worker and the Principal Teacher of Young Carers for Moray. Decision-making and prioritisation of this limited resource was based on the length of time since the Carer last had a break, extent of need for a break, and whether the proposed break would in fact provide a break to the Carer and address the needs of the Cared-for Person.
Finding the time to make short break arrangements proved to be difficult for some carers and added to their stress levels rather than reducing them. Quarriers’ staff therefore made practical arrangements and bookings, and paid for breaks directly for 60% of carers. Quarriers’ Support Workers actively encouraged those carers most in need of a break to apply for a Time to Live grant and assisted them in doing so when needed.
Roderick had never realised there was any support available for him and had to be persuaded to apply for a Creative Breaks award. He was keen to learn to drive as his father no longer can, but felt there were others more deserving of the funding. Having received the award Roderick had support to arrange driving lessons and passed his test first time.
“Being able to drive has given me independence,” he says, “I’m proud of my achievement, it’s really boosted my confidence”. Roderick’s wellbeing has improved immensely as a result of his success. He feels better able to sustain his caring role and has recognised the benefits of a break from it,
“I’ll be able to help out in different ways, and can escape more easily for a break”
“The course challenged me mentally and physically, and put me outside my comfort zone in a good way. I’ve been able to be myself again totally my own person, NOT a partner/carer/mother/neighbour but simply care for my own needs for a while in a beautiful, remote setting amongst trees, deer wildlife.”
Elaine thoroughly enjoyed the experience and reports improved wellbeing for both herself and her partner, and feels she’d be much more likely to ask for support in future.
“This has given me happy memories, which make me smile.”
“Having the ramps means that Ann and I can go out together much more because the ramps improve accessibility of places,” says Bob. “We can now go over to visit family, do more babysitting and strengthen those family ties even more, having increased freedom is the best bit for both of us.
The ramps also let me put Ann’s electric chair into the boot of the car without having to strip it down first - they are a piece of equipment that come in very handy and will do so for a long time.”
What Quarriers has learnedQuarriers’ aspiration is for every carer to know about the Time to Live grants to understand what the grants are trying to achieve and to understand the selection criteria for grants. Effective marketing of the grants to carers is essential in achieving this aspiration. Time, attention and resources (staff and materials) need to be allocated to marketing activities to make them effective.
Importantly effective marketing has included Quarriers support workers and other professionals actively encouraging those carers most in need to apply for a grant. In many instances support workers have directly helped carers to apply for a grant where there was a likelihood that a carer, who had said they wanted a break might not follow through with a grant application independently. Not following through can often be attributed to for example, literacy issues, reluctance to accept “charity”, concerns about the wellbeing of the one they care for if they took a break away from them, worries that a grant might impact negatively on state benefits already received and simply finding it hard to do as a time poor and stressed carer.
Quarriers has found that there is still a heavy focus on one off activities and days away in grant applications. While these breaks may satisfy an immediate and perceived need we have found more creative breaks (for example, purchasing equipment such as camping equipment which can be used on multiple occasions) tend to have more of a lasting impact on break participants. We therefore need to invest the time needed to help carers explore and trial longer, more creative breaks.
Doing so links back to marketing by promoting case studies of what others have done with their creative break and the impact it has had on the carer and cared for. The challenge is the staff time needed to do this effectively. The bond between carer and cared for is very strong and many want to have a break together. So the challenge is accessing breaks where there is enough additional support build in so both get a restful break.
Quarriers is trying to build local capacity to provide supportive breaks where carers accompany cared-for in Moray through our other applications to Shared Care Scotland. How we introduce and present this additional help is crucial as carers can be reluctant to accept it. Findings show once carers have experienced this type of break they realise the difference it can make to themselves and the person they care for.
Quarriers has found that Creative Breaks can make a real difference to someone’s life. By giving family members time and space to evaluate their situation and a neutral environment provided by a break away, people can discuss matters openly and honestly. The outcome of such breaks can be meaningful, sustainable and positive life changes.