SNP - Tom Wills

Gifts for unpaid carers

A NEW scheme which will see hotels, cafes and other businesses and organisations gift unpaid carers a much-needed break or an activity has been introduced in Shetland.

The likes of Busta House Hotel, Shetland Recreational Trust and Fjara Cafe Bar have all signed up to Voluntary Action Shetland’s (VAS) new Respitality project, which is being run in conjunction with Shared Care Scotland.

It encourages local businesses to give unpaid carers a gift, such as a night’s stay in a hotel or a trip to a cinema.

This should give the person a break away from their care role, while local companies can give something back to the community in the process.

So far nine businesses and organisations have signed up to the scheme. They are Drumquin Guest House, Ordaal Cottage in Unst, Fjara, King Harald Apartments, Shetland Arts, Shetland Recreational Trust, Busta House Hotel, The Moorfield Hotel and Self Catering Shetland.

VAS carer support worker Kirsten Harcus said the scheme will benefit both parties.

The organisation has supported unpaid carers in Shetland for more than 10 years and it already offers a short break grant scheme.

“VAS is delighted to be working with Shared Care Scotland to try and offer more short breaks to unpaid carers in Shetland,” Harcus said.

“I am very excited about this project which offers a win-win to both parties: Carers receive a much needed break from their caring responsibilities while gift providers give something back to their community and at the same time raise their own profile.”

A launch event which will provide more information will take place at Market House in Lerwick on Friday (24 November) from 1pm to 2.30pm.

VAS, meanwhile, will mark national Carers Rights Day with an event at Market House also on 24 November, between 1pm-3pm.

General information about what help is available to carers will be on offer, while an adviser from Citizens Advice Bureau will be present between 2pm-3pm.

VAS executive officer Catherine Hughson said: “Unpaid carers have many rights they are not aware of.

“Carers Rights Day highlights this and shows that the services provided by VAS with other partners are vital to ensure that unpaid carers are able to support those they care for, and take care of themselves.”

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