Short Breaks for Carers of Children with Disabilities
A story by Inverclyde Carers Centre
We provided breaks to enable carers of children with disabilities to enjoy holidays as a family. Breaks are for carers who haven’t had a break in the last 12 months and care for a child or young person aged under 21.
Breaks take the form of short family holidays where we meet the cost of accommodation, transport and support if required.
What Short Breaks for Carers of Children with Disabilities did
The project was promoted by our staff to all Carers of children registering with the centre and at outreach venues. We specifically targeted information at families on our database and through special educational needs schools and those families who are in transition between children’s and adults services.
Our Outreach Worker had a monthly presence in 17 community and health settings across Inverclyde and also attended around 19 public events per year. The worker also visited Barnado’s Family Support Group, Autistic Support Group, Parenting Again and Downs Syndrome Support Groups.
Carers own experience of breaks and information on how to access these were included in our bi-annual newsletter, on our own website. Social Work staff in the Children with Disabilities Team also promoted this to families they are in contact with, to colleagues in Children and Adolescents Mental Health Team (CAMHS) and Community Nurses.
Carer Support Workers completed applications with carers. Carers were able to tell us about the areas their children required support and what support was required. Applications were then assessed on a monthly basis against criteria. 27 breaks took place across the country. Many of these breaks were caravan holidays, some were taken in hotels and a few families visited family in other areas who were then able to support them during their holiday.
Carers were able to participate in a lot of typical family holiday type activities such as swimming, going for meals, walking, visiting places of interest and generally relaxing away from their normal routine and environment.
What Inverclyde Carers Centre has learned
Carers tend to take breaks during school holidays therefore the level of interest at particular times of year is challenging to our organisation.
As we support all carers it can be difficult to determine which children and young people have higher multiple needs than others.
Carers were happy to share their own experience of breaks which, alongside information on how to access these, was included in our bi-annual newsletter and our website.
We specifically targeted information at families on our database and through schoolbag drops at Craigmarloch School for children with Additional Needs. This enabled us to reach carers who cope very well access support which was really useful to them.