The Person Centred Holiday Fund for Carers
A story by Unity Enterprise South Ayrshire Carers Centre
We provided grants directly to carers who live in South Ayrshire and provide 20+ hours/week of unpaid care to a family member, partner, relative or friend caring for an adult 21 years and over and needs help to manage a long term condition, disability, physical or mental health problem or addiction.
What The Person Centred Holiday Fund for Carers did
Carers were asked to complete an application form and award agreement (guidelines included). Carers were advised to make the break individual to their own needs and include as many details of the break as possible. Members of staff were available to help with the process where necessary.
The panel consisted of: David Roxburgh (Service Coordinator), Sheryl Stone (Red Cross), Phil White (CHP Coordinator) and at times an ex Carer. The panel meets every 6 weeks or so. The project was advertised to Carers through the Centre newsletters, posters, social media, at support groups, events and conferences, information in GP Surgeries.
What Unity Enterprise South Ayrshire Carers Centre has learnedThe challenges have been arranging tickets, booking hotels to suit very specific dates, if the Carers is able to be even slightly flexible with dates it can make things a lot easier. The biggest challenge can be deciding eligibility. We found Carers who may not be in great financial need but who are awarded a nominal sum have engaged with our services and received vital emotional support. The requests and needs of our Carers are so diverse we feel it is important to take a holistic view of their situation, therefore we focus on their choices.
If there is one overriding principle it is to ensure we offer them a break of their choice. It has been a real pleasure to be able to offer a wide range of short breaks to Carers, (and at time the cared for/family). The difference it has made to Carers has been incredible, they feel better supported to continue in their caring role, refreshed, it has given them good memories to treasure.
All new Carers who register with the Centre have been offered the opportunity to access the project it has been advertised in our newsletter, at events and conferences we attend, on social media, by the use of posters and information available in GP Surgeries. We have certainly found that some new Carers have been attracted to registering with the Centre because of the opportunity to apply for a break.