If you’re a carer looking for a short break, PKAVS have a scheme that just may pique your interest!
One in ten people in the U.K. are unpaid carers – that’s seven million people, and the number is predicted to rise. Many carers don’t even realise that what they do would be considered a caring role, meaning sadly that they miss out on opportunities to access support that may be available to them.
These are issues that PKAVS aim to address with their scheme, Time4Me.
Time4Me is a funding pot for unpaid carers of any age in Perth & Kinross, to access short breaks. Carers can apply individually, or through a support worker for an award of up to £250 to go on a break of their choosing.
“It’s really flexible.”, Marthe Handling, Respite Development Officer at PKAVS explains to me, “Carers are encouraged to be as creative as possible when they’re applying for breaks – it doesn’t just have to be a traditional overnight stay – although this is okay too!”
Carers are encouraged to be as creative as possible when they’re applying for breaks.“In the past we’ve had carers use the funding toward pursuing a hobby, or getting out of the house more. We’ve awarded money for accordion lessons, fishing permits, cinema passes, nail appointments – alongside your overnight spa breaks and things like that.”
The scheme is funded by Shared Care Scotland, and demand has been very high. Raymond Jamieson, Carers Hub Manager at PKAVS tells me, “The feedback that we’ve received means that Perth & Kinross council have now topped up the pot of funding. We initially received £16,000 from Share Care Scotland, but such is the demand placed upon it that it only lasted 3, 4 months.”
“It’s really helping us to reach the rural and more isolated areas of Perthshire and Kinross because there’s loads of carers up there – hidden carers – that can now have access to it.”, Marthe adds.
Often carers aren’t used to being the one cared for. “Time4Me is so needed because when you’re constantly caring for folk, in many cases working alongside caring, often one of the things people say is that they would like a break. Just an opportunity to recharge their batteries, relax and have some time for themselves.” Marthe tells me.
“When carers come here and we ask, well what can we do for YOU; they are just taken aback by that. Even just going away, not having to cook, being pampered - that feeling of knowing that we’re here to care for the carers is a really important one.”
“It’s just important for them to get an opportunity to have a break and a life that’s beyond only caring.”
Indeed, there are various examples of carers who have been helped by Time4Me. Raymond tells me of an elderly lady who approached PKAVS, who utilised the funding given to purchase a battery for an electronic wheelchair.
“All we had to do was provide £80 to get a new battery for the wheelchair and get it fitted for her. Something as simple as this made such a difference to her and her husband’s - who she cares for - life.”
“Now she and her husband can get out of the house, are able to do the shopping, and she feels her social life has improved.”
Another example of carers helped by Time4Me are sisters Audrey and Lesley, who both care for their mum. The funding they received enabled them to have an overnight stay in a hotel in St. Andrews.
We both felt so re-energised and positive about our lives!
“We both felt so re-energised and positive about our lives!”, they told me. “It was great to be cared for by others and have some quality me time. Quality time away from our everyday caring role for even a short break is such a blessing.”
“It makes us feel cared for, valued and sets us up to continue our busy caring life”.
If you’re interested in finding out more information about Time4Me, and potentially applying for funding yourself, you can refer yourself through the online application here or contact PKAVS.
You don’t need to have to have a dedicated worker or be officially registered as a carer either. If you need assistance filling out the application form, or have any questions you can get in touch with Marthe at 01738 567076.
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