Now more than ever, we need to share the care
Over the past eight months unpaid carers and their families have faced intense pressure with many struggling to cope in the absence of ‘formal’ care support, including short breaks. We are grateful for the efforts of the many organisations, key workers and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over this period to alleviate this pressure by ensuring some form of support continues to be available to our most vulnerable people. And we are grateful also to those in our local communities – the neighbours, friends and local groups – who have stepped in with kindness and companionship.
We now know there are further challenges ahead over the winter months, but by looking out for each other and sharing the care, we can get through this together. We must remember to take care of ourselves too. Making time for oneself helps replenish our reserves so we can better support the people that need us. And we will need help from others from time to time when we have reached the limits of our strength and capacity.
At Shared Care Scotland we will continue to do everything we can to support carers and their families, and the short break services they rely on, through the current challenges. We will work with our different partners to help them find ways of supporting families to access breaks over the winter, and to ensure that pre-pandemic services are reinstated as soon as safely possible. We will also continue to gather evidence of what’s working and not working to help inform future decisions on policy and practice.
Our priorities over the next 5-6 months include:
Access to information and support
We will keep people informed about the latest COVID-19 developments through:
- Producing and updating our series of briefing notes to help carers find the latest guidance and information on COVID-19 measures, developed jointly with the National Carer Organisations
- Providing a telephone enquiry service so that people can speak directly to a member of our staff if they need further help or information. We can be contacted on 01383 622462.
- Adding to and updating our Safely Returning to Business resources webpages to help services manage the reopening of their short breaks provision
- Maintaining links with carers centres, short break services, information providers and other groups through our different networks to help people share their learning and practice
- Using our social media channels and surveys to hear directly from people about how COVID- 19 is impacting on them, to relay information, and to share ideas. You’ll find us @CareBreaks across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Short Breaks for Strange Times
We will continue to update and promote our directory of online short break activities – Short Breaks for Strange Times. There are now over 100 different activities listed that include online courses, exercise programmes, arts and craft ideas, virtual museums, reading clubs, and websites for children and young people, as well as support services that are delivering assistance online. We are grateful to everyone that has shared their resources with us. (Please continue to share your suggestions through this simple online form.)
Short Breaks Fund
Our Short Breaks Fund team is supporting third sector services to develop alternative, COVID-safe ways of delivering their short breaks that comply with government guidance. Many of the organisations awarded grants recently have already adapted their plans.
A full list and summary of our Better Breaks and Creative Breaks funded projects can be found here.
We will support local areas to manage their Time to Live grant programmes making small grants available directly to carers to help them get the break they need at this difficult time. An additional £175,000 was distributed at the start of lockdown and we saw evidence of these grants being used in many creative ways. We will distribute a further £490,000 of Scottish Government funds from October to local partners, and we will host an event in February so that we can share what we have learned.
You will find more information about Time to Live here
Despite the enormous impact of COVID-19 on Scotland’s hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors, we have benefitted from the generosity of many businesses who continue to support carers by donating breaks through Respitality. We will work with these businesses and our local delivery partners to strengthen our relationships and find ways we can offer mutual support. We will also work with our local partners to develop a virtual breaks programme for the winter period to include a range of donated offers that can be enjoyed by carers in the comfort of their own homes, or in their local area.
You will find more information about Respitality here
There are now many sources of information to help carers. The Scottish Government Carers Policy Unit has provided the following advice on finding assistance:
- For the latest verified information and advice on COVID-19, visit NHS Inform and the Scottish Government website;
- Carers who don’t have an emergency plan in place may want to talk to family and friends who could take on their caring role if they become ill or need to self-isolate;
- Where carers and family or friends are unable to provide essential care for someone, they should contact their local social work department;
- Carers should also make sure that they have key information about the person that they care for readily available for anyone who may have to step into the caring role.
You will find more information, including advice on financial help, here
Local Carer Centres
While many Carers Centres are not operating their normal walk-in services, they are offering alternative forms of support such as telephone counselling, virtual cafes, befriending support and other advice services. You can find contact details for local Carers Centres through our interactive short breaks information map.
The team at Shared Care Scotland are committed to continuing to deliver our work programme and to supporting our different stakeholders through these challenging times. We can be contacted through our main office number on 01383 622462 or through our firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
Stay safe and well.
Shared Care Scotland