Taking a Break & Making Memories
A story by Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute
We delivered “Taking a Break & Making Memories” and we were able to provide Young Carers aged 8 to 18 years with respite and a break from caring with their peers from Bute & Cowal.
This was achieved through the provision of a programme of activities and a residential at Ardroy Outdoor Centre, Trips & attending the Scottish Young Carers Festival.
What Taking a Break & Making Memories did
Funding for Taking a Break & Making Memories enabled Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute to provide a residential at Ardroy Outdoor Centre for 16 young carers aged 8 to 12 years in April 2019. Following discussions during group sessions, young carers families were sent further information about the residential activity to complete and return to us if they wanted to attend.
The residential was fully booked and the excitement for the trip was building for sometime beforehand. With young carers attending from the Bute group and from the Cowal group, it meant that they would also get opportunities to meet other young carers, widening social networks and build upon existing relationships.
Feedback from young carers was very positive, giving us insight into the activities they enjoyed such as; Kayaking, Climbing, Nightlines - all asking to go again! The even wrote 'Please can we go again' on post it notes to Short Breaks!
In addition, during the summer, we provided day trips for young carers that would find it difficult to attend residential activities as they do not wish to go on overnight trips or be away from home for long periods of time. Our young carers took part in activities to inform us of the trips and activities they would like and as a result, we enjoyed 2 days of outdoor activities with Benmore Outdoor, Dunoon; kayaking and climbing, followed by Electric Karting with The Experience in Glasgow and a trip to Blair Drummond Safari Park. All of the activities were fully subscribed.
Our Summer activities came to an end with the Scottish Young Carers Festival in Fordell Firs, despite having 14 young carers due to participate, for a variety of reasons only 5 were able to attend. However, the five that attended had a great time, made friends with other young carers from different areas & could benefit from having time with staff. All of the young carers had taken part in a number of activities provided, including the inflatables, crafts, & they had a fabulous time at the silent disco! Through the programme of residentials & activities young carers from Bute & Cowal were able to access respite and a break from caring, and make new friendships .
What Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute has learned
Through chatting to young carers we are able to establish what activities they would like to participate in, this helps us in planning and subsequently in budgeting for activities.
We have ensured that families who may find it difficult to complete forms for activities have received support and our schools have been great in helping us to do this.
We have challenges in being able to meet the requirements of young carers and their families in rural isolated areas, for example how to get those young carers to a central point with a limited number of staff when parents are unable to provide transport. In addition, we cover Cowal and the Isle of Bute and experience challenges with covering the two areas and bringing the two groups together, which is something the young carers really enjoy. Transport is staff intensive and costly but very important to our young carers.
We are aware young carers may cancel at the last minute, leaving paid for spaces on activities but often we are unable to fill those spaces, not because no one wants to go but due to logistics and getting the appropriate information over to the activity provider within the specified timescales. It always feels such a shame
How Crossroads Young Carers Cowal & Bute has benefitted from the funding
With the Creative Breaks funding we have been able to provide access to activities and a break from caring for our young carers, something that is really important to the whole team. Our partners in education and social work help promote our programme of activities and to get the forms filled out we cannot thank our partners enough for the support they give us. It strengthens not only our relationship as partners but ours and our partners relationships with young carers and families, it also gives everyone a topic to talk about. We have been informed by partners of young carers telling them what a great time they had - their best bits and what they want to do again. The activities also provide the team with opportunities to build relationships with young carers, get to know them better and find out about the things they really enjoy, whats important to them, their future aspirations and their challenges, enabling us to provide a more informed approach to supporting them.
56 Young Carers aged between 7 -17 years will feel supported & rested having had a break from their caring responsibilities. Resulting in improved confidence & self-esteem, strengthened relationships with the cared for person & improved social networks with peers.
Listening to young carers through groups and individual activities we were able to organise a programme of activities to suit their needs, which included residentials to Ardroy Outdoor & the Scottish Young Carers Festival, Kayaking, Climbing , Electric Karting and Blair Drummond. All of the activities were fully subscribed, with young carers very excited about the programme. Throughout the activities young carers were able to access a break from their caring roles, develop & build relationships with their peers & staff. Feedback through photos, pictures, conversations, pottery tiles & thumbs up/thumbs down from young carers & their families has been very positive.
Two young carers, having never stayed away from their families before attended the Ardroy Outdoor residential & although both found this very difficult & unable to stay overnight they joined the group during the day. This meant they were able to join the activities, have a break from caring & spend time getting to know their peers. Both young carers enjoyed taking part in the activities & have since attended other activities or groups, reducing their social isolation & increasing their access to a break from caring. This has been a big step for them & has helped in increasing their confidence & self esteem. For one young carer supported through our project for 3 years, we discovered their love of music through the Scottish Young Carers Festival. This young carer 'came alive', socialised with peers, took part in a range of activities we had not known Music was their 'thing'. It was fabulous to see the enjoyment, the growing confidence chatting to others and the constant smile! This young carer has grown in confidence since the summer activities, has built friendships & has talked to us about their role as a carer - the experience they had gave them the confidence to tell us more about their role & what support they need. We are very proud of this young carer for the journey they have been on & trusting us to help support. In addition, by bringing groups together from Bute & Cowal young carers have been able to develop social networks in a rural area, outside of their school friends, taking part in activities they may not normally access. For several young carers they have enjoyed this experience and look forward to the next time they are all together as a bigger group.
56 Young Carers in Bute and Cowal will take part in activities enabling them to access a break from their caring roles and responsibilities, develop social networks and improve well-being
Through the activities which included Ardroy Outdoor, Scottish Young Carers Festival, Kayaking, Climbing, Electric Karting & Blair Drummond, 13 young carers aged 8-12 years out of a possible 14 spaces attended Ardroy Outdoor, 17 took part in kayaking & 18 participated in climbing, both days were able to facilitate 20 young carers. 14 out of 21 young carers took part in Electric Karting & 14 visited Blair Drumond. 9 young carers were unable to attend the Scottish Young Carers Festival leaving 5 to have fun, meet other young carers from around Scotland & take part in activities. We recognise that for young carers & their families a break from caring may be difficult, things can change at the last minute & young carers may worry about leaving their cared for person or the impact on other family members if they are not there to help. However the provision of activities provided a break from caring for a number of young carers, reduced isolation & increased social networks & well-being
For one young carer supported through our project for 3 years, we discovered their love of music through the Scottish Young Carers Festival. This young carer 'came alive', socialised with peers, took part in a range of activities we had not known Music was their 'thing'. It was fabulous to see the enjoyment, the growing confidence chatting to others and the constant smile! This young carer has grown in confidence since the summer activities, has built friendships & has talked to us about their role as a carer - the experience they had gave them the confidence to tell us more about their role & what support they need. We are very proud of this young carer for the journey they have been on & trusting us to help support. In addition, a number of young carers moving from P7 to S1 were able to develop relationships with their peers transitioning from Primary to Secondary, having met through the Ardroy Outdoor residential they identified that they were less worried about not knowing anyone, able to spend time with their friends from young carers, develop new friendships and furthermore, they told us, that as they had stayed away from home before, attending the P7 to S1 residential at Benmore Outdoor Centre, and was less scary and other family members could take care of the cared for person. The Ardroy Outdoor residential helped us to identify the issues that affected these young carers in accessing a break from caring and we were therefore able to support them in attending future breaks and activities.
20 Young Carers will advise increased social networks and inclusion
As we run groups in Bute and in Cowal, Young Carers advise us that they have enjoyed meeting, getting to know and make friendships within Cowal & Bute and from around Scotland through the Scottish Young Carers Festival. Since the summer they have often commented that they can't wait to see each other at future activities and are planning already for next year!
A young carer who previously found it difficult to access groups or activities, following the Ardroy Outdoor residential and summer programme, with support, attends our after school groups. This has increased her social networks and feels included. Through additional one to one support, we are aware her confidence has increased, tells us she feels supported and has really enjoyed making new friendships and taking part in the activities.