Outreach Service for Rural Carers a Short Break to Portavadie Marina
A story by Crossroads Caring for carers Cowal & Bute SCIO
We provided a short break for unpaid carers throughout Cowal & Bute to luxury 5 star accommodation including sauna in the apartments and full use of all spa facilities and leisure facilities within the complex at Portavadie Marina.
The Carers who attended enjoyed Full Scottish Breakfast each morning and fine dining/refreshments. All travel costs were fully funded and this included a day trip to Tarbert for those who wished to attend.
What Outreach Service for Rural Carers a Short Break to Portavadie Marina did
Two staff members facilitated and welcomed the carers on the short break and were on hand at all times to ensure the needs of carers were fully met. The two staff members who attended are also registered as carers with significant caring responsibilities. Staff members who attended were The Outreach Service Co-Ordinator and the Carers Centre Manager.
Letters were sent out to identified registered carers within the rural areas of Cowal & Bute, some challenges were faced in relation to the changing caring responsibilities of those who had been identified to attend who then had to withdraw due to this change in circumstances but this had already been highlighted within the planning process as a potential problem and a backup plan was in place.
Accommodation was in a 5 star apartment in a luxury setting each carer had there own room and each apartment has living areas which promoted the opportunity to come together and share experiences if desired in a relaxed environment and promoted peer support. The carers who attended enjoyed swimming in an infinity pool and full use of spa facilities, some enjoyed walking in the beautiful surroundings of the marina.
A trip to Tarbert, relaxing in the marina social areas making new friends with others carers who were attending. Group evening meals were a great opportunity to mix further and enjoy the company of others. Carers expressed they enjoyed watching the boats come and go in the marina whilst relaxing in a beautiful environment conducive to positive wellbeing and reducing stress levels. The Break was made available to 15 Carers and was for 2 nights.
"To be able to get away and be free of my obligations helped me immensely" "The relaxed feeling was immediately felt" (Rural Carer from Strachur)
"The first break I have had n five years and to meet with others in the same position as myself made it like a weight of ones shoulders making new friends"
"Perfect peaceful setting for a truly relaxing break"
"I think it opens our eyes to the fact that we are carers who spend most of our time in responsible roles sometimes without thanks, Selflessly and taken for granted by relatives, and the healthcare system"
This carer has recognised through time the importance of accessing short breaks and building a life outwith the caring role, although this has been challenging, with the appropriate support measures put in place from a multi agency approach this carer now enjoys an active life outwith caring, and engages in a number of activities that improves social connections and wellbeing which has been vital in allowing her to continue in the caring role.
This had been identified through ongoing carer feedback and monitoring of services as an area for development. On completion of the project the Co-ordinator shared the finding in written report format and through verbal discussions with the team and the Board of Trustees this report was also shared with the Council and Creative Breaks funders to ensure that a better understanding of the huge importance that access to short breaks is for carers. We recognise the value in spending time with each carer to listen to what is wanted and needed to make a break work for them .
What Crossroads Caring for carers Cowal & Bute SCIO has learnedThe fund allowed us to provide a very high standard of break to carers who are facing very challenging caring situations. The event was publicised in the local paper during Carers Week 2017 and was planned to run within Carers Week uplifting the profile of the organisation and Carers in Cowal & Bute. The break was highlighted within a document relating to carers in the local paper which goes out to a large number of people living in the area and we envisage that this should have a direct impact on some previously unidentified carers then coming forward for registration.
The break and the reporting and feedback forms received on return has identified that Carers need the opportunity to access a short break as part of ongoing support and this should be made available to all carers. The break and feedback received confirmed that these breaks have a outcome of improving wellbeing, reducing stress and reducing carer isolation through opportunities to connect with other carers and peer support opportunities.
Through ongoing service provision we identified that male carers are less likely to attend group events previously organised therefore we endeavoured to ensure that a gender balance within this group event was achieved. We were able to bring along four male carers from rural areas who had a connection in years gone by, this was a very positive opportunity to reconnect and share stories of old and new. The feedback was fantastic and the opportunity to attend the short break was much appreciated by all who attended.