Time 4 Me
A story by PKAVS
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Perth and Kinross.
What Time 4 Me did
Due to the popularity of our Time4Me fund it did not last the full year from October 16 to September 17. The fund was spent at the end of our funding panel in May. We ensured that the opening of the fund was well advertised through channels such as Carers Hub Website, Social Media, Carer and Professional distribution email lists. It was also featured in our Newsletter which was posted out to carers not online and in the rural locations. Advertising extensively at the beginning of the fund opening resulted in a high number of applications being received from a number of different sources. Receiving applications from such a variety of referrers is a testament to the successful reach our funding had.
We tried to keep the application simple to not discourage carers from applying as we are aware they have to fill in many forms on a daily basis. We also made available succinct guidance notes for applicants and referrers so they were clear on the aim of the fund, the criteria to apply, the importance of providing receipts and feedback after the break and when the decision making panel would meet.
Decision Making Panel meetings were organised in advance to meet on the first Tuesday of each month to ensure that awards were made to carers in a timely manner. We invited representatives from different statutory and voluntary organisations to sit on the panel as well as PKAVS staff and unpaid carers. Having a good balance of panel members ensured that applications were being fairly reviewed. Once a decision was made the Respite Development Officer would contact the carer and inform them of the outcome, confirm payment detail and reiterate the importance of sending in receipts and feedback after the break.
By not restricting applications solely through support workers we found that we were able to identify hidden carers who were not previously known to our service. It was the prospect of getting assistance with a break that encouraged them to get in touch in the first place. We also introduced an online feedback form to make the process quicker and more efficient, especially for Young Adult Carers who may not have access to a desktop to fill out a word document.
"Having the opportunity to be on my own with just a book in between being pampered was just sheer bliss. I have spent so long juggling caring for my daughter I had completely forgotten what it was like to think of no-one for a few hours. I was a bit nervous going on my own but then just the joy of not having to talk was so lovely. The day was so calming and when i got home I felt so much better and hopeful that I would be able to stay strong for my family."
Carer A has since then been referred to the Adult Carers Support Team and completed a Carers Support Plan. She is now accessing Complimentary Therapies and has shown an interest in meeting up with other carers who understand her situation.
"We would not have gone if the grant was not given. Taking my wife back to that area brought back good memories for her. She was happy with the room and staff at the hotel. It was great that you arranged dinner for us and this made us feel good and so had 2 further dinners. The grant made us feel lucky and gave us something to look forward to".
This carer is a perfect example of how Time4Me grants are being used to benefit both the carer's and cared for’s mental and emotional well-being.
"I felt like I was at breaking point. But the break was great, we did nothing all week and it was bliss. My son took his camera and we walked the dogs. We wouldn’t have been able to get away if it wasn’t for the Time4Me funding. It gave me something to look forward to. Being a carer sometimes makes you feel like you're on your own so it's nice to know that there are organisations there to help."
This break lifted the spirits of Carer C and her family. Having the flexibility to fit it in with a hectic caring role was a real bonus.
What PKAVS has learnedThis is the second Time to Live fund that PKAVS Carers Hub have had the privilege of administering. The rate at which our fund was spent continues to demonstrate the massive need for creative alternatives to respite for carers.
Time to Live continues to help raise awareness of PKAVS Carers Hub with carers and professionals and has resulted in new referrals to the service. Having access to this funding enables our Carers Hub to offer carers in Perth & Kinross choice. Our Time4Me pot is unlike the respite vouchers for the cared for that are currently available as it helps draw the focus to the needs of the carer and gives them almost limitless options as to how they wish to relax and unwind.
Seeing the importance of breaks for carers first hand has encouraged our support staff to explore and develop other respite options for carers above and beyond Time4Me. Such as the development of our Respitality project and making applications to various other trusts such as Carers Trust and Turn2Us for carer breaks.
One of the remaining challenges that we continue to face is making the funds allocated last until September. Capping the upper limit, a carer could apply for at the lower amount of £250 has helped extend the life of the pot from 5 months in the first year to 8 months in the second year (with the final grants awarded at our Panel in May). We are revising the application form for the third pot to include a more detailed breakdown of costings to really encourage carers to think about what they are applying for and research the best deals to make the fund last longer.
Another unexpected challenge that we have experienced with this Time4Me pot is how time consuming it has been to try and chase up receipts from carers. We appreciate that carers have very busy lives etc. and therefore will be putting more emphasis on the referring support worker to help arrange the details of the break or if they are self-referring to encourage them to book with the assistance of the Respite Development Officer.