THREE thousand, eight hundred disabled children and their families are looking forward to better breaks after a Scottish Government fund provided £1.3 million to the projects that support them.
Fittingly, for the year of the Commonwealth Games, many of the projects will improve access to sports and fitness activities.
Over 900 of the disabled children and young people will have the opportunity to learn to sail, play rugby, join a football team, or go cycling amongst many others activities.
The Short Breaks Fund provided the money to more than 68 charities around Scotland through their Better Breaks programme.
Michael Matheson, Minister for Public Health, said: “I’m delighted that this investment will help many more families to enjoy some valuable rest and relaxation.
“We know that carers find it invaluable to be able to take breaks, even if just for a day or two. More people than ever before are now acting as full-time carers, looking after loved-ones, often around the clock and seven days a week.
“They are all making a tremendous contribution to society, and that’s why the Scottish Government has invested more than £112 million between 2007 and 2015 to support carers and young carers.”
To demonstrate their cycling skills, members of all-ability cycling group called Blazing Saddles donned their helmets and burned rubber in Holyrood Park.
Janet Brereton, project co-ordinator, said: “All abilities cycling is an activity that can be shared by everyone. Through grant funding from Better Breaks, Blazing Saddles is able to recruit and train volunteer Bike Buddies who support our cycle out days; provide much needed respite care to parents and carers; and, while improving overall health and well-being of everyone involved in the project we also build confidence and self-esteem of those with additional support needs thus changing lives in varied and positive ways.”
Many carers provide over 50 hours of care per week without ever having access to a short break from their routine of caring.
Having a break can have make an enormous difference to families by providing the space to rest, the space to be themselves, to pursue a hobby, catch up with friends or just relax and recharge.
By helping services to work with people with complex needs, stress within the families can be reduced as people access more day to day services.
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