Time for Me
A story by Carers of West Dunbartonshire
We provided grants directly to carers who care for an adult. The grants were available to allow the carer to have a break on their own or to have a break with the person that they were caring for.
Grants were available to carers living in West Dunbartonshire caring for an adult with a wide range of disabilities and illnesses.
What Time for Me did
An application pack was developed. This contained an application form, a leaflet about the project, an agreement with guidelines/criteria form and an expenses record. Promotional material for the project was produced and distributed among statutory and other third sector agencies.
The existing good partnerships that we have with a variety of agencies and individuals was used to raise awareness and promote the project. These included, Health staff, GPs, District Nurses, Social Work teams, Voluntary Organisation Partners.
The promotional material included, leaflets, fliers, Website information and information in our own newsletter and other organisation's newsletters.
We also informed carers on an individual basis, for example those that were being offered a high level of support from our Carer Support Team and who were felt to have a particularly high need.
We also carried carried out “mini” presentations about the project at our own carer support groups and external carer support groups. This ground work formed a sound basis for us to build on and to promote the development of the project.
Grant applications were considered on a fortnightly basis by a small grants panel. The grants panel comprised of the “Time for Me” Project Worker, Carers Services Manager and a carer volunteer. Each application was considered individually and against the criteria which had been set. Carers were given a choice as to how they wanted the grant to be administered, these were, a small personalised budget, a break arranged by the Carers’ Centre or as a combination of both.
Successful applicants who chose the personalised budget option were awarded their grant in the form of a cheque. Carers were asked to keep a record of all expenses as well as receipts.
Mrs R said they "never stopped laughing" and also commented that she liked being able to plan her own break as it gave her freedom.
Mrs B said they both enjoyed meeting other people which really helped them both mentally and said she felt very much better when she returned home.
Mrs T said that she enjoyed the fact that they could do things together in a a safe environment, and she was able to relax without worrying about her husband and came away feeling rested and having got some more useful advice.
What Carers of West Dunbartonshire has learnedHaving a break is such an important thing for carers so being an organisation that is able to offer a service like short breaks really positions us well.
For many carers getting away "with" the person they care for rather than getting away "from" them is just as important. It's the getting away from the daily routine that's the key for many carers. We all need to learn from that and be flexible about what a "break" can mean for people.
A break is often the thing that carers feel will be most difficult to get but yet the most useful to them. They are often put off by bureaucracy. So it's important to keep processes straightforward.
Carers may initially apply for a break but by engaging with services, particularly new carers, it is likely that other support needs are identified.