A story by Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service (PKAVS)
We provided grants directly to carers who who live in Perth & Kinross, to plan and pay for a short break of their choice.
What Time4Me did
The application process included an application form, a referrers guide, an applicants guide and a 'What is a Short Break' narrative. These forms were sent out through the distribution lists held within Perth & Kinross Association for Voluntary Service for carers and professionals. Similarly the information was also sent to statutory sector colleagues at the local authority and NHS Tayside. This new funding was also officially launched at the Carers Conference held on the 4th of November. It was also discussed at the monthly Joint Carers Strategy Monitoring Group and also through the Unpaid Carers Forum that Perth & Kinross Association for Voluntary Service helps facilitate.
The funding was also advertised within the newly created Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service Carers Website under the 'Need a Break' tab. We think the initial influx of applications from a variety of different sources shows that the funding was well advertised and promoted.
The decision making panel met each month to discuss applications pending. These panels consisted of Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service Carers staff, colleagues from Social Work and other local authority departments, a minimum of one unpaid carer and colleagues from other carer organisations such as Support in Mind.
On average each of the 5 panels that met before the funding ran out had 6 people in attendance and each panel was different. The panel were each given time to read each application and then a discussion was had about what extra information was needed (if any) and whether there was alternatives to what had been applied for (for example gym memberships could be arranged through Perth & Kinross Live Active as Perth & Kinross Association for Voluntary Service had registered as a member).
A decision would then be made and on the whole these were usually unanimous. However if extra information was required that application would be taken away and would be discussed at the next panel or via email if a decision needed to be made sooner. On the whole the process all seemed to run quite smoothly and there were very few (if any) issues that come to mind that caused us any great problems.
He has suffered some brain damage which has affected his mobility and memory. This had been a horrible year for them and as they hadn't had a holiday for 4 years they wanted to get away as a family. The Perth & Kinross Association Voluntary Services Hospital Link Worker also sourced funding through a local solicitors firm to make up the shortfall of the trip.
What Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service (PKAVS) has learnedThis was the first time that Perth & Kinross has benefited from this Time to Live Fund. From the rapid uptake and variety of respite opportunities requested it reinforced the need for respite and also an improved variety than what is currently on offer. I have started to have these conversations with our local authority as at present all that is really offered in terms of respite are therapy vouchers and respite vouchers to help look after the cared for.
The fund definitely helped promote Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service with carers and professionals in this area and hopefully this has led to more hidden carers being identified and offered support through contact with our support workers.
The most unexpected challenge was coping with the demand. I never believed the funds allocated would stretch to a year but I had hoped it would last beyond 5 months. I think a major cause of this is because it was new and innovative and previously not available in Perth & Kinross. I think I will want to speak to other more experienced Time to Live organisations if this new application is successful and see what checks they put in place to try and make the fund last longer and make sure the most needy carers where the ones who were accessing it.
I think a major benefit is how this funding has helped promote Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service as a carers organisation within Perth & Kinross. Often we are thought of as being part of the council by carers and professionals alike but this funding has allowed us to promote our name and what we do to a much wider audience.
It helps that we are probably the only organisation that has funds to allocate to help carers access respite and it seems word of mouth about the fund and Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service circulated very quickly. I know that a number of previous referrers are waiting patiently to hear our new application will be successful.