NEARLY £2m of Scottish Government money has been distributed to families of disabled children and their support organisations by the charities, Family Fund and Shared Care Scotland.
Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson MSP said: “Short breaks are vitally important to carers and young carers as they give them a much needed break from their caring role, which can b tiring and stressful.
“I’m delighted that so many organisations and individuals are benefiting from this £2m funding, which will support a wide range of short breaks for disabled children and young people and their parent carers.
“We are funding many diﬀerent types of short breaks including carers having a break away, those who are ill or disabled having a break away and people having a break together with additional support.”
The two programmes, Take a Break and Better Breaks, administered by the charities Family Fund and Shared Care Scotland were set up to increase the choice and control that carers have over the short breaks or respite care that they take.
The programmes have now been closed to further applications, but both charities hope that each will receive similar funds to distribute in the coming ﬁnancial year.
One parent tells her story: “Having a daughter with learning disabilities has had its trials. A lot of our family trips have been upset or ruined by Darcy’s behaviour over the years but I have always persevered so that Kieran, her brother, could enjoy all things that other people have access to.
“A family visit to Barcelona for the day whilst in Spain on holiday a few years ago was a disaster! As soon as we arrived, we had to leave as my daughter decided that she did not want to be there.
“It was very disheartening for the whole family but especially for my Kieran, who had been looking forward to the trip for weeks.
“I promised I would take him to Barcelona again but ﬁnancial circumstances didn’t actually allow me to follow through on my promise.
“Receiving the grant from Take a Break was fantastic and allowed Kieran and me to have a wonderful (budget!) trip to Barcelona.
“My daughter, Darcy, had a wonderful holiday at Lourdes too, so it was even more relaxing for me knowing that she was also enjoying herself. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
The charity, PLUS, received funding to extend its services to families with disabled children less than ﬁve years of age.
Their chief executive, Paul Dumbleton, said: “PLUS is delighted to have the resources to start work with under ﬁves with disabilities in Stirling.
“We know that parents of young children with disabilities really need a break and that they also value opportunities to share experiences with other families.
“Children love to play together and that this is an important part of their childhood that they should not be denied.
“PLUS is grateful for the way that the Scottish Government is making resources directly available to grass roots organisations.”
In all, 1,200 families received a grant of between £200 - £500 to help fund a short break; and 50 organisations that will work with an estimated 2,000 disabled children recently received between £10,000 and £50,000 to provide a range of creative and fun breaks.
Don Williamson, chief executive of Shared Care Scotland, said: “Shared Care Scotland is delighted to be involved in this innovative partnership between Scottish Government and the Third Sector.
“We have been very pleased with the enthusiastic response from short break charities to this opportunity to create new and imaginative short break projects that will make a difference to so many families.
“What has emerged clearly is that short break solutions don’t have to be complicated or even expensive – it’s making available the right break at the right time for individual families.”
And this was echoed by Derek Walpole, chief executive of the Family Fund.
He said; “The Family Fund has been overwhelmed with the response to Take a Break and the huge variety of ways in which families, when given the opportunity, chose to have time out from their daily routine.
“This scheme has empowered families of disabled children to make their own choices, taking a break at the right time and in a manner which is right for their family.
“We are delighted to be working together with Scottish Government and Shared Care Scotland to make a real difference.”
Note to Editors:
For more information on Take a Break or the Family Fund, please contact:
Alison Jessop firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Short Breaks Fund, please contact:
Alison Stevenson email@example.com
About the Family Fund
The Take a Break scheme is administered by the Family Fund. The Family Fund is a registered charity and one of the UK’s largest provider of grants to low income families raising disabled and or seriously ill children and young people aged 17 and under.
Last year, the Family Fund helped around 59,000 families across the whole of the UK with grants totalling £33 million pounds. 91p in every £1 of funding received by the fund goes to support a family.
For more information see: http://www.familyfund.org.uk/
About Shared Care Scotland
Shared Care Scotland exists to improve the quality, choice and availability of short breaks (respite care) provision across Scotland.
Our vision is a Scotland where everyone who receives or provides unpaid care can live happy and fulﬁlled lives with the support they need to take regular, quality breaks from the demands of their caring situations.
The Short Breaks Fund, including the Better Breaks programme, is managed by the National Carer Organisations through Shared Care Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
The Short Breaks Fund also incorporates the Creative Breaks programme which provides funding to improve the range and availability of short breaks for adults and older people with support needs their carers, and to increase short break opportunities for young carers.
For more information see: http://www.sharedcarescotland.org.uk/
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