A Donor’s Perspective
Since Respitality launched in Scotland in 2014, an amazing 251 businesses have donated breaks. Homelands Trust is one of them.
The Homelands Trust is an independent Fife based charity working to improve the quality of life of individuals affected by disability, people with life limiting conditions and their carers, through the provision of luxury holiday accommodation. Homelands Trust have donated 13 short breaks to the project since 2015, where carers from various areas of Scotland have benefitted. We held a Q&A with their assistant manager Kim O’Brien to find out the benefits to their business as a result of supporting Respitality.
Q: Why did Homelands Trust decide to support Respitality and why do you continue to support the initiative?
A: We felt that the accommodation we have to offer is excellent for Respitality given that we have been purpose built with accessibility in mind and have an extensive range of specialist support equipment either as standard or on request. Some parties do not need much at all of what we offer but those who do could be reassured that we could meet their needs in order to provide them with the support and comfort they required to carry out their normal daily routine. We are also a charity and wanted to give something back. Another reason we wanted to give Respitality our support is that we do at times sadly receive cancellations of breaks whereby the full cost of the break has been paid for and the guest is eligible for only a small portion of the money to be returned to them. They are given the option to forfeit the money owed and offer their break up for respitality. It is good to be able to give this option to people as some feel this is a gift they would like someone else to benefit from and their break is going to a deserving unpaid carer in need.
Q: How do you feel when you see first hand the impact of your support?
A: It can feel very powerful and emotional to see the difference we are making. Sadly, for a large number of the population being able to take a break and head off on holiday is just taken as par for the course and guaranteed from a financial point of view. For those who carers who are restricted by the specialist facilities required for the person the care for and/or by financial restrictions getting a break away is a complete dream to them. Offering a funded break gives them that opportunity and for some people feels as if you have given them the world. The appreciation they show can be overwhelming. It is not just a break away you are giving unpaid carers, it is the means to move forward and know that someone else is thinking of them and they are not alone.
Q: What would you like to say to other tourism or leisure businesses to encourage them to support Respitality?
A: If there is one project that needs support and the benefits are visible almost instantly from when a person arrives with you and if not, then certainly by the time they leave then it is Respitality. I have seen carers arrive looking understandably exhausted, lacklustre and desperately in need of “recharging their batteries” just to help them cope with the days, weeks and months ahead. By the time they have left us you can see a difference in a person’s mood, posture or outlook, sometimes all three. You are doing more than just offering them a break for a certain period of time. You are giving them the tools to keep going and the breathing space they need to re-group and move forward.
To find out more about Homelands Trust, visit their website https://www.homelands-fife.co.uk/ or call the team on 01333 329039.