Short Breaks for Borders Young Carers
A story by Scottish Borders CHIMES Service, previously the Scottish Borders Young Carers Service
The Scottish Borders CHIMES Service provided a range of short breaks In the Easter and Summer holidays that enabled 81 young carers, aged 7 – 17 years to get time away from home by having a break.
The activities were based in the Scottish Borders and were a mix of day and half day activities.
What Short Breaks for Borders Young Carers did
We factored in valuable input from young people about what a break means for them and young people also indicated that school holidays are the most difficult time for them, so we were able to focus on provision during the Easter and Summer holidays.
Easter outings - We were able to facilitate and take 7 smaller groups of young people to the local cinema in Galashiels in the Borders. Numbers attending were 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2 = 22, age range 7 to 16 years.
The smaller groups allowed young people in different age categories and different areas of the Borders to come together. It was also easier for staff to facilitate smaller groups in terms of transport. We also had a larger group outing to Eyemouth to the Tedda Hut, a building we use sometimes for group sessions inviting 12 young people Border wide and 8 attended. Total 30 attended out of 34 invited to 8 outings
Summer Outings - Cinema trip Galashiels as beach trip was cancelled due to bad weather, 15 attended, Leisure centre trip to Hawick, 2 attended, Drumming and music session, Kelso, 12 attended. Harestanes Country Park, 14 attended, East Links Family Park, 14 attended, Coldingham Bay trip , from 10/7/19, 10 attended., Arts and Crafts session, Mission Hall, Galashiels, 11 attended.
Both Easter and Summer holidays total of 81 individuals as some attended more than one outing. Priority areas addressed were ' choice and control' and 'outreach' as young carers, views were gathered via some group sessions and more than half live in rural and remote areas.
What Scottish Borders CHIMES Service, previously the Scottish Borders Young Carers Service has learned
Project planning and budgeting, it was important to keep an eye on the spend as the project developed and outings and activities were being planned as we found that entrance fees to venues could be very expensive. We learned that to enjoy a short break and time away it doesn't always have to be expensive and involve additional costs as long as staff time and transport was factored in we could look to do activities that were free or did not cost much.
Targeting those families most in need - we learned that it is important to support families who are unable to have a holiday and to ensure a fair process of selection and be accountable for decisions made.
How Scottish Borders CHIMES Service, previously the Scottish Borders Young Carers Service has benefitted from the funding
Strengthen the organisation's reputation, locally in the Borders other organisations have been interested to hear what we have been able to achieve by being able to provide short breaks from the Creative Breaks Fund. Secure other funding, we will be working in partnership with a film company REELTIME do develop some film clips for social media in Jan 2020 as we are always looking at ways to encourage young people to take part in an activity.
70 Young carers will have a reduced level of anxiety and stress associated with the care role (using the time out and peer support) enabling them to sustain their home placement and contribution to care.
Young people provided feedback on the day of the outing and this was captured in a feedback app and was positive showing that young people were happier having had a day out of fund and friendship and a break from home. Our assessment tool the 'well-being web' measured changes in emotional well-being and all young carers charted improved emotional health and well-being following a short break/activity.
Thomas is a young carer who cares for Mum who has significant mental health issues. Whilst he gets opportunities to play out after school with friends he doesn’t get many opportunities to go and do fun outings on weekends or during holidays. He rarely ever gets to leave his home town. There have been difficulties contacting Mum in the past to organise transport for trips meaning he hasn’t attended trips. He was invited on four trips over the holidays and eagerly accepted all invitations. He really connected with another young person, Tim, and they have since struck up a friendship and requested more joint sessions. He commented that he really enjoyed the trips as it gave him a break from life at home and a chance to see Tim.’
70 Young carers will be able to engage in leisure and fun activities, giving them time away from their caring responsibilities (time out) with an opportunity to take part in childhood/teenage activities of their choice. 70 Young carers will have received an additional level of support.
The well-being web assessment tool has provided evidence of increased participation and engagement in planned activities and engagement locally for young carers. Some are now attending local youth clubs or after school clubs.
‘Matthew is a young carer for Mum who has MS. His older brother has recently been displaying some difficult behaviours making life at home quite challenging at times. Matthew is quite a shy child and doesn’t particularly enjoy being in a new scenario with children he doesn’t know. He was invited to attend the drumming session which he was keen to go on. He really engaged with the drumming workshop and did participate in conversation with other young people as part of a group. There were opportunities to create music individually and as a group which Matthew engaged with and it was clear that he felt quite pleased with what he had created. This is really crucial for this young person in terms of his well-being as he struggles with low self esteem and often feels quite lonely. He did say that he enjoyed the day.’
70 young carers will receive additional emotional support and `time out` activities to enable them to sustain their current care role and an opportunities to share with other young carers who can provide peer support and understanding.
As above, the well-being web has measured positive improvements in emotional well-being and sustainability of home placement (measured at the outset, review of care plan (3 months) and closure; there has been positive feedback from young carers, parents and referrers. Through engagement in the short breaks/planned activities and meeting with others in a similar situation peer networks have been developed and have been sustained within community / school setting.
Megan takes on a main carer role for her mother who suffers from Diabetes, a heart condition and requires support to sustain school attendance, time out from home and the caring situation, support to access her own leisure/social activities and emotional support. Megan has a positive relationship with her father (who she sees monthly and telephones regularly) and two older siblings – all of whom live outwith the family home. Megan attended the cinema trip in the Easter holidays and the East Links trip in the summer and commented on how much she enjoyed meeting other young people and said she felt like a weight had been lifted from her as she said she knew she was not the only one going through a difficult time looking after a parent.