Time 2 Be
A story by Connecting Carers
We provided grants directly to carers of adults who live in Highland to access their own, personalised respite break.
What Time 2 Be did
At the start of the funding period we reviewed our entire process and paperwork. As a result of this we have a clear application form which gives us a considered insight into the carers’ situation and their caring responsibilities. These forms also ask specific questions which are incorporated into an impartial scoring system which also incorporates the Warwick Edinburgh Well being Indicator Score. Anonymised copies of the applications are then presented to the panel for decision and should there be an oversubscribed funding month, the scoring system help to identify those in most need which informs the panel’s decision making process.
Our panel is made up of a member of the Board of the charity, a carer volunteer, and a member of staff. The administrator of the fund prepares all the papers for the panel in advance and notifies the carers of their decisions within 5 working days of the panel. The fund is promoted on our website, through our quarterly newsletter, on Facebook and Twitter, at events and through carer groups, however our biggest uptake is from carers who discuss the options with a Carer Liaison Worker while completing their Carer Support Plan (CSP).
‘This much needed break has been amazing. Despite being physically so tired, I had energy on this break that just appeared from nowhere! We had mother and daughter time. It was so wonderful. The landscapes and beaches inspiring, and made us feel so carefree. M took photos, I did a little bird watching too, things we enjoy. Mentally I have come home feeling absolutely wonderful.’
‘Thank you for giving us the gift of £200 to have wonderful carefree days together. We truly feel spoilt and blessed. We much appreciated the freedom from financial worry and this allowed us to be mum and daughter (and of course the puppy too!) and play, laugh and relax and forget all the stress we’ve been under.’
L says “I really enjoyed myself. It gave me a break and helped clear my mind for the day. The opportunity really helped me.”
L had a spa break in Aviemore – “This was an amazing experience. I felt so relaxed and revived. I came home with a new found positive energy which I had previously not had. It was amazing how a few days off can improve things so much. Thank you.”
J says ‘My body was very tense and I was told she (the massage therapist) could tell from my back neck and shoulders I was very stressed. After treatment, I felt so relaxed and more able to face the challenges ahead.’
V went away with 2 friends to the Lake District – “I wish to express my most grateful thanks to your organisation for looking favourably on my application. Dealing with stressful situations on a daily basis takes its toll. So having something to look forward to is wonderful. It has given me something to focus on when I will have a chance to be ME and return home refreshed and able to cope.”
J bought a rowing machine as he struggles to leave the person he cares for alone – “This gives me open access to work out as I need to thus improving my health, fitness and helping with stress. This is an invaluable help!!”
M says ‘Thank you. My wee treat was a visit to Inverness Golf Club for lunch. I went with my husband. He still has membership there although he rarely plays golf now. It was an absolutely beautiful meal in beautiful surroundings and I didn’t have to cook it.’
What Connecting Carers has learnedAs this year has included a period of restructuring, we have primarily learned how to run an efficient, transparent, responsive and demonstrably supportive service which has produced improved outcomes for carers.
The period we were restructuring did mean that for the initial months we were unable to offer the fund, but we felt that it was important to start the new funding year with the correct paperwork and procedures in place. The challenges we face now are to manage the fund so that they are awarded to those carers most in need as the popularity and promotional activity around the fund mean that we are regularly oversubscribed at panel.
We have been able to reach many new carers by targeting those who have not applied to the fund before and by introducing a restriction that carers cannot reapply within 3 years of receiving one of our Time 2 Be fund grants, although the Wee Treat fund grants of £30 can be awarded more often.