Person Centred Holiday Project
A story by Unity Enterprise- South Ayrshire Carers Centre
We provided grants directly to carers who live in South Ayrshire
What Person Centred Holiday Project did
I took over the post in January and set about creating a Panel which would remain consistent for the rest of the application period. The panel included a representative from the Salvation Army, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland a former Carer and myself. The panel reached decisions by consensus. I think having a consistent panel made the application process fairer as they all being assessed by the same group of people.
I have agreed the same panel for next year. The members of the panel are keen to continue being involved as they enjoyed looking through the applications and seeing how the short breaks could make people's life better. For next year I plan to set a stronger frame work for assessment in place to ensure that the carers in most need receive the support. This will include a checklist and written feedback which can be given back to the Carer if there application is unsuccessful or the panel requires more information, it will also enable the carer to understand why they have been granted a certain amount if this is lower than they requested.
The fund was advertised through posters and flyers displayed in GP surgeries, libraries and community centres across South Ayrshire. It was also promoted externally through partnership meetings and information sessions to local agencies. Internally it was promoted through newsletters, social media and at support and activity groups.
The local press also carried an article in March for us, as I felt we were at an underspend point in the process and felt more people needed to be aware of the money we had available. This year we have started with an article in the Local Press, I also plan to contact the local radio and tie this to Carers Rights Day. Laminated A3 posters have been sent to all GP surgeries and local agencies. There will be a launch event/ information session this will be promoted through our third sector interface. We are also planning a Social Media campaign.
We have changed how we are advertising and speaking to Carers and other partners about the Short Break Fund. Staff have been given detailed guidelines.
A's mum was due to start dialysis in August and she felt it was the right time to do to have something positive to think about. They picked a hotel close to the docks and shopping centre, so there was not a lot of walking to where they wanted to see, and the hotel room had a wet room making it easier for her mum independently get herself washed and dressed.
She said during her evaluation that she had an amazing time with her mum. It was great to do all the Beatles stuff as they were both huge fans and the Magical Mystery Tour was indeed magical. But she said that the best thing was that for three days, she was just a daughter away with her mum, and although she was still providing some care, she didn't have all the stresses of motivating her mum to get up or go out, as her mum was as keen as she was to enjoy their holiday.
Carer felt cut off from their family. The daughter had no real understanding of how her mother’s condition had worsened. They would only call 2-3 times per month to catch up. The Carer used the Carers Short Break Fund to help towards flights for him and his wife to visit their daughter. The carer enjoyed the break and described it as a peaceful time with family. They also stated that since returning his daughter calls more, and he feels more supported and able to talk about his wife’s condition .
The Carer enjoyed the break which included overnight camping and a BB on the way home and feedback that it provided her with not only a much needed break, but the opportunity to engage with nature, something which she spent time perusing before becoming a carer, she also mentioned that she had the opportunity to meet up with some old friends. Since returning from the break she has carried on using some of the techniques she learned in the workshops which help her find an inner peace, use any free time she has to relax and help her deal with stressful situations.
What Unity Enterprise- South Ayrshire Carers Centre has learnedThe fund has helped us engage with Carers who would not normally have used the service. 13 new carers were identified through the Short Break process. 7 of whom have used other aspects of the service.
Carers and the local authority are delighted that we have money available to promote respite opportunities. We also learned as an organisation to be really clear about what was being offered as guidelines which had been drawn up for the project were wrong and therefore we disappointed a number of people. Steep learning curve. Amazingly 28 people identified as Kinship Carers, this has highlighted to the centre the need to provide additional new services to target this type of carer.