Time Out Project
A story by Quarriers
We delivered ‘Time-Out’ planned music-based, social, exercise and activities for adults with disabilities, in twice a month sessions at community venues in West Dunbartonshire, giving Carers the opportunity and peace of mind to take a break – either with, or without the person they care for.
What Time Out Project did
The Time out project was designed to provide additional respite for Carers and the person they cared for on a monthly basis for 3 hours. Sessions would enable Carers and the Cared for person to participate in health and wellbeing activities or for the Carers to take a break as they chose. Zumba classes and alternative beauty therapies were offered for Carers and music, singalongs and dancing were provided for the person they cared for. These activities took place in the Golden Friendship Club within West Dunbartonshire.
Due to the Coronavirus the Project was only able to run one session as originally planned before restrictions made safe delivery impossible. Covid-19 made activity options very limited and phone calls with families confirmed their nervousness around any excursions or socially distant meets. Digital and virtual alternatives also made many feel anxious and others told us they lacked the confidence or capacity for this. After consultation with the people we support, and in agreement with the Shared Care team, we agreed to focus on alternative therapies and activities for Carers, and those they Care for, that could be used at home.
We spoke to individuals about what they felt would benefit them most. It was suggested that wellbeing packs would offer the Carer opportunities to relax or have time on their own. They also asked for games, jigsaws, sensory items etc. to ensure the person cared for was also doing something that they enjoyed allowing the Carer to feel confident taking some “time out” from their caring role.
A variety of wellbeing packs were offered some with items to enjoy time in the garden (seeds, soil etc.) or items to relax indoors (pampering products, arts and crafts etc.). All were able to choose their preferred game/puzzle etc for the person they care for ensuring both parties could enjoy an activity of their choice.
Staff arranged delivery through Amazon and all bespoke packs were delivered directly to individuals homes, safely and within Covid-19 restrictions. Families were very appreciative of these items and we received many phone calls and cards of thanks from the carers who use the service.
What Quarriers has learned
Due to covid19 our original planned Time Out Project was cut short and we have had to modify the support we had intended to provide Carers of those with physical and learning disabilities and other complex needs. In developing and implementing this project Quarriers staff have enhanced their ability to establish a realistic budget, estimate costs including staffing, venue, instruments, entertainment, Beauty products, Food and drink and to ensure that costs were kept within the parameters of the agreed grant.
Partnership working was developed with a local businessman who had expertise in running a variety of clubs - he was able to provide support by allowing the "Time Out" project to advertise in his local club. He was also able to make introductions to local entertainers who would provide their service at reduced rates.
The unexpected impact of Covid-19 has required staffs creative thinking and flexible approaches being adopted to ensure outcomes are still met for the People we support.
Through managing the projects we have had the opportunity to explore additional funding routes and in-kind support to enhance our project. Staff and the wider community have been motivated to explore fundraising ideas for the project including sponsored cycles, fashion shows, raffles, open days etc. Our service aims to raise funds to enable us to continue with additional projects and to add value to the activities we already provide.
How Quarriers has benefitted from the funding
The Funding from Creative Breaks has helped our Service build relationships with the people we support outside of our traditional service setting. With our original delivery plan we undertook consultation on what activities, hobbies and breaks were most appealing to Carers and better understood what we could offer those they Cared for that would be fun and engaging. We have established new local partnerships and built awareness of our service among local suppliers who have been very supportive and have offered their help for future fundraising or community based events. When our programme needed to adapt quite significantly to accommodate Coronavirus restrictions we were able to engage with the people we support in a new way. This in turn has built up relationships with family members which has had a positive impact on our interactions with families and on the reputation of Quarriers and the Dunn Street Service.
Carers will have regular opportunities to take a break with time to spend as they choose; Carers will have opportunities to meet and socialise with other Carers.
Within the limited scope of the Covid-19 restrictions we were able to improve Carers Wellbeing by: supporting them to take a break from their carer role within the home. Providing pamper packs, seeds and soil, arts and crafts items that encouraged time away from their carer responsibilities and to encourage their own self care Giving them a bespoke gift of their own choosing to remind them of their value providing an alternative activity for those cared for based on their interests and hobbies. The phone call consultation with staff also provided an opportunity to check in and connect with families at a time when our traditional service had been disrupted and those we support felt particularly isolated. People we support knew they were being thought about. Staff also appreciated the chance to stay connected and feel that they were offering practical support and care despite the restrictions to Quarriers normal service delivery.
One Carer requested headphones for the person they Care for. This simple piece of equipment has allowed "A" to enjoy his music and the escape this provides but has also meant more quiet time around the house. The result has been that the Carer can enjoy her pamper pack in a relaxed environment knowing that "A" is safe and happy. "A" can listen to his music as loud as he likes without disturbing the rest of the family, reducing some of the tension and chaos that can result from whole families confined indoors together for long periods. The family shared a lovely thank you note saying - "Thanks so much for A's gift, he has already got the headphones on and loving it! It was very much appreciated, thanks again".
Carers will benefit from peer support; Carers will have improved knowledge of additional support available to them and how to access it.
By providing alternative therapies - relaxation candles, bath salts, beauty products carers were able to take moments within their day or week to de-stress, be mindful and indulge themselves within the home but outside of their caring role. Gardening kits - soil, seeds, pots, tools - promoted the benefits of being outdoors, feeling in touch with nature and getting fresh air as well as reminding Carers of the importance of nurture for growth. Arts packs allowed an escape for Carers through their own imagination and creativity and the chance to produce decorative items to brighten up their home. All of the gifted items enabled Carers to take part in alternative activities tailored to their own needs and interests and separate from their caring responsibilities. They have allowed and encouraged Carers to take regular breaks from their daily caring routine whilst also ensuring that those they care for remain happy and entertained.
The number of thank you notes and phone calls received by the service has reinforced just how important it has been to stay in contact with Carers and to remind them that services are still here to support them and value them despite normal delivery being limited. Many do not put their own needs first as highlighted by this note received. "Just a short note to say how delighted Justin was to receive a couple of parcels from you all at Dunn Street! He loves the CD and the enormous colouring set. He also can't wait to colour in the gorgeous book. (Not so keen on the bath set but will enjoy it when he's using it!!) " J also spent time writing in the card himself and telling us - "Thank you so much for all you sent me. Love from J" Staff were very touched by the feedback and were able to get in contact and remind the Carer that the bath set was for her to enjoy herself.
Carers will feel less stressed and more confident: Cared for will have fun, be active, expand their social circle and be more confident.
The feedback we have had from Carers who received wellbeing packs has highlighted the significant boost receiving both a phone call from staff and the parcels through the post has given them. After, for some, quite significant periods of self isolation with little respite from their caring role the human contact and wellbeing packs were a significant highlight. They acted as a reminder that the service was still there for them and they were valued. During these particularly challenging times any opportunity to take small breaks from the normal caring routine have become increasingly important.
"To everyone concerned in thinking of P. The kindness and thoughtfulness you've shown will always be remembered. Thank you from L, C and of course P xxx" We know that pamper packs and art and craft materials are not a real substitute for the face-to-face meetings and weekly activities we had planned to offer but as the note above suggests Carers have been given a real boost knowing that they are not alone and that they and those they support are being thought of. It really has made a big difference. "To Dunn Street Staff, Thank you very very much. It was lovely of you all to send C jigsaws and myself a pamper set. Thank you all for your lovely gifts".