Time for Us
A story by East Lothian Young Carers
Our Project provided short breaks to young carers and the person they care for who live in East Lothian. A choice of short breaks were offered allowing young carers to have a break from caring while spending quality time with the person they care for enjoying an activity they would not normally be able to.
What Time for Us did
The Project provided short breaks to young carers and the person they care for in East Lothian. We offered three types of short break group activities, day trip short breaks and overnight short breaks. The breaks were delivered between October 2018 and September 2019.
Beneficiaries of the project were either referred to East Lothian Young Carers or were already known to us. Young carers who were primary carers, families with multiple support needs and young carers who had not had a holiday in the last five years were prioritised. East Lothian Young Carers staff spoke to young carers and the person they cared for about the type of break they would enjoy and working together designed their short break. East Lothian Young Carers staff helped with identifying possible day trip activities, places to stay overnight and with arranging transport.
Seventy young carers and fifty eight cared for people enjoyed day trip short breaks. Day trips gave young carers and the person they cared for the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy a fun activity. Days out included visiting the zoo, going to cinema and going to a museum. Some families who were unable to leave the house enjoyed takeaways and a movie at home.
Fourteen young carers enjoyed overnight stays with the person they cared for. Taking to families we realised that it would be better to have more than one night away so they could relax properly. With some shopping around were able to offer three night overnight stays.
Group activities provided young carers and the person they cared for with the opportunity to meet up with other families and enjoy a fun activity together. We had planned to offer a cookery, science and pottery session. However bookings for the science session were very high so we ran two larger science sessions and did not run the cookery or pottery sessions.
We had very positive feedback from everyone who had a short break through the project. Young carers and those they cared for reported feeling more relaxed and valued and enjoyed spending quality family time together. Feedback from the science sessions told us that in addition to enjoying the sessions it had also been really good to meet up with other families.
What East Lothian Young Carers has learned
Having conversations with young carers and the people the care for improved our understanding of the barriers families face when considering what sort of short break they would be able to do.
Helping to find suitable short breaks for families improved our knowledge of activities and places to visit in our local and surrounding areas.
We learnt that families really enjoyed the group activities as it gave them a chance to meet others in a similar situation to themselves. We will look to offer more group activities in the future.
We learnt that some of the additional costs of a day out, for example food, may almost cost as much as the actually activity and need to be budgeted for properly.
How East Lothian Young Carers has benefitted from the funding
The chats we had with families about short breaks helped us to get to know them better. Our knowledge of short breaks and activities has improved. We have compiled a list of activities and places to stay that have been enjoyed by young carers and the people they care for during the course of the project. The positive impact of the short breaks on young carers and the person they care for has strengthened our relationship with them. We have made good links with the organisation that delivered our science workshops and hope to work with them again in the near future. The project also had a positive impact upon East Lothian Young Carers staff. To be able to offer young carers and those they care for a suitable short break just when they need it most and then to see the positive effect it has on them, not just at the time but also going forward, has been provided a huge boost to staff. We feel we have benefited just as much as everyone who had a short break!
84 young carers and those they care will have created happy family memories
This outcome was fully achieved. The focus of the project was on providing young carers and those they care for with the opportunity to enjoy an activity together as a family. During the year 99 young carers and 79 cared for people enjoyed a short break. The families we supported told us they really valued the opportunity to spend time together doing something different from normal. Young carers enjoyed spending time with their families and taking part in the same sort of family activities they hear their peers talking about but they don’t often get to experience. Lots of fun was had by young carers and the person they care for creating lots of happy memories. The group activities held in East Lothian Young Carers club room provided a safe space for young carers to enjoy an activity with siblings whose care needs mean it is difficult to take part in activities together outside their home. “Such an amazing opportunity as a family to experience” parent.
Sam is 15 and is the primary carer for her mum who has a long-term chronic health condition. They live in a rural locality with no accessible public transport which makes it difficult for Sam to meet up with friends. Sometimes Sam’s mum is unable to do anything during the day because of the pain she is in so Sam will often support her mum with the household tasks. Sam worries about her mum and is often anxious. She knows that financially things are tight so she doesn’t ask for new clothes or items for school. Sam is aware that her other friends have it ‘easier’ than her and this sometimes affects her emotionally and she will lash out at her mum. As things were quite stressful at home, we offered Sam and her mum an overnight break to give them a change of scene and some time together away from all the stress. We were mindful that with mum’s fluctuating health issues it would be beneficial to not be too far away. They chose to go to a cottage close to a village down the east coast. The cottage had a television and a microwave which were novelties to Sam because they are not items they have in their own home. The cottage also had a log fire and mum said ‘We spent a day today watching TV in front of a log fire. It was lovely to just chill together’. They managed a walk together along the beach and sat and had ice cream. Sam and mum enjoyed quality time away together, they were able to relax and chat and make some happy holiday memories. It was also Sam’s birthday which was made special because they were able to celebrate it doing something different and for Sam it was a chance to have some quality time with her mum as mother and daughter.
84 young carers and those they care for will have enjoyed a new experience and will feel less isolated as a result of their short break together
Short breaks were offered to tackle the Isolation frequently experienced by young carers and those they care for. Young carers and the cared for person met with a worker to talk about the type of short break that would be best for them. Support provided by East Lothian Young Carers staff meant that there was no stress in organising the activity and families were able to just enjoy themselves. During the year 99 young carers and 79 cared for people enjoyed a short break. Young carers and the people they care for told us how being able to get out of the house helped to ease feelings of isolation and being cut off from society and that it was very enjoyable to get away from the daily routine and spend quality time together. Feedback from the science sessions told us that it had been really good to meet up with other families. The break gave everyone a boost with young carers and cared for people feeling less stressed and happier. The breaks were very valued by all those who were supported by the project.
Andrew is 12 and lives with his mum and younger sister who is 5 years old. Andrews’s mum has had mental health problems for a number of years. Andrew is his mother’s primary carer and worries a lot about his mum. For a period of time this year Andrew’s mum was quite unwell. Andrew became very upset and didn’t want to leave his mother alone. Andrew’s mother’s health had improved but Andrew was still reluctant to leave his mother and spent most of his time in the house. The family were offered a break away together. The break provided the family with the chance to get out of the house and spend quality time together. Andrew enjoyed spending time with his mother and sister and came home feeling much happier. Having some time away gave the family a chance to relax recharge their batteries. Andrew benefited from the time away and returned home happier and less worried about his mother . The family had an amazing time away and mum said “Thank you for making it happen. We had a ball.”