Short Breaks Fund
A story by Fife Voluntary Action
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Fife, to plan and pay for a short break for their choice.
What Short Breaks Fund did
Following on from the last round of Creative Breaks funding our project continued to deliver direct distribution of short breaks funding to carers in Fife. With the support of our partners on the monthly panel, Fife Carers Centre, Fife Young Carers, Crossroads and an individual Carer we continue to promote the fund and assist with the assessment of applications.
We continue to promote the fund via our leaflet, e bulletins, website and partners' publicity materials and a press release also ensured that we generated some articles in the local press for the fund broadening the reach of our project, including a local radio interview. Our application form and guidance is available online, and for those who need it our staff and partners are happy and pleased to offer further guidance in completing the form. After each monthly panel meeting our team process the awards and notify all the candidates of the outcome.
We constantly review our paperwork and consider changes that will improve our process including the evaluation form which has proved very useful in developing our service and guidance on types of breaks for carers.
They used the break as the kick-start they needed to start their slimming world journey which was paid for with the remaining balance of the award. The break gave them the chance to see the bigger picture & a chance to take stock of life at home. Their mother was glad they had taken the break and noticed a real difference in their well-being. Since going on their break, they have felt more confident in leaving their mother for short periods of time which has helped them to join & regularly attend fitness classes in the local area. The award has changed their life to the extent that they are now organising a break in the next year to celebrate their birthday.
Although back in the same position now as before, the break reinforced the need to take respite as and when they could for their own health. They has since taken advantage of 1 week’s respite care for their father, allowing them to spend time at home with their partner. Before the break, Carer B was reluctant to use respite care thinking their father wouldn’t cope. The time away from their father gave them the break needed to recharge and go back to their caring role with a renewed level of patience and perspective.
The guilt of spending household money on a break would have been too great meaning they never would have taken the time away without the grant money. Since the break, Carer C has realised that they need to make more time for themselves and have managed to start going to the local sports centre to swim every week, they feel better able to cope with the situation & are more relaxed as a result.
What Fife Voluntary Action has learnedOur project has been running successfully for 4+ years now. Our processes are now well established but we always listen to feedback and regularly review our paperwork and processes. We said goodbye to two of our long time administrators this year, who both retired, and welcomed a new member of the team on board who has significantly helped to streamline the administrative processes.
We repeated last year’s successful press release mid-year which supports the expanding reach of our project. As a result we were interviewed by the local radio (Kingdom FM) and generated local press articles that focus on the importance of Carers taking a break and the benefits that result, helping raise awareness of the importance of supporting carers in their role and the role our project can have in supporting that.
A condition of our grant this year was to reduce the sum available to applicants from £500 to £300. This had an impact on applications through our partners’ channels which we investigated. Our feedback was that the sum of £300 was not really able to “purchase” a holiday or break away of sufficient duration to make the effort in organising and preparing for it worth the anticipated outcome. As a result of this we have spoken with Shared Care and been allowed to raise the sum to £400 with some discretion by the panel to increase that where appropriate.