They are the unsung heroes of communities. They are selfless, kind and loving people who give up much, if not all, of their spare time to care for friends, relatives and neighbours. They often juggle full-time or part-time work alongside being there for those who simply can’t get by in their day-to-day lives without assistance.
They are unpaid carers and it’s a difficult role often forced upon people when those who they care about take ill or become dependent on the help of others. It’s long hours and, over the festive period in particular, it can be very demanding and draining. So, I think everyone would agree that these fantastic carers deserve a much needed break to get away and enjoy themselves, or to be rewarded for their crucial work by receiving funding to pursue a hobby or be offered things like football season tickets, spa days and other leisure activities.
And thankfully there’s a fund set up which does just that. PKAVS Carer Hub, assisted by funding from Shared Care Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council, has announced the continuation of the ‘Time4Me Fund’ which offers carers the chance to do things that they may not usually be able to do. The possibilities are endless and it means that unpaid carers can choose what they want to do, when they want to do it and who they want to do it with. A well-deserved reward indeed! It’s estimated that unpaid carers save the government around £132 billion a year – the cost of a second NHS!
Marthe Handling is PKAVS’ Respite Development Officer and she is encouraging anybody who is an unpaid carer in need of a short break to recharge the batteries to apply for the fund.
“Time4Me offers unpaid carers in Perth and Kinross so much more variety and control over their own respite. Its purpose is to improve the range, choice and availability of personalised and creative short breaks.
“Last year’s fund was very well received with over 70 applications submitted and no two short breaks were the same. Each carer thought carefully about what respite meant to them and applied for a variety of different breaks from a spa day or a new laptop, to a family day out or driving lessons. For many carers a short break wouldn’t be possible without the assistance from Time4Me.
“Receiving a small grant of up to £250 is a perfect incentive for carers to take some time out to focus on their own wellbeing. I would really encourage any eligible carer who may be in need of a break to consider applying to the Time4Me Fund, and not to hesitate to contact PKAVS Carers Hub if they have any questions or need assistance in completing the short application form.”
There are currently 788,000 people in Scotland who are caring for a relative, friend or neighbour – 44,000 are under the age of 18. An unpaid carer could be anybody in the local community. It could be a 15-year-old looking after a parent with an addiction, a 40-year-old caring for their partner with terminal cancer, or an 80-year-old looking after their spouse with Alzheimer’s.
Unpaid carers are absolutely vital to local communities across the UK. The Office of National Statistics links the rise in the number of unpaid carers to a rapidly ageing population and higher life expectancy. Our care services are struggling to cope with the demand and that’s why these unpaid volunteers really are the unsung heroes. It’s estimated that they save the government around £132 billion a year – the cost of a second NHS!
So, if you or somebody you know is an unpaid carer and deserves a much needed break, then get in touch with PKAVS and apply for the Time4Me Fund today.
All carers must read the full guidance notes and eligibility criteria here. Please read this thoroughly before submitting an application.
For more information or to request a hard copy of the application form, please call Marthe Handling on 01738 567076 or email Marthe.Handling@pkavs.org.uk.
PKAVS is a leading local charity that enhances lives and connects communities throughout Perth and Kinross. PKAVS’ vision is a Perth and Kinross where all communities are inclusive and connected, and local people reach their potential.
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