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Health / Carers invited to ‘do short breaks differently’

Voluntary Action Shetland and a group of local carers are holding an event on Monday to inspire other carers to take their short breaks differently. 

The Islesburgh Community Centre event will look at different ways of taking a break locally and nationally. It will be held from 12-2pm or 6-8pm.

VAS has secured funding from the Scottish Government through the CATS (Carers Act Transformation Support) Fund to show people the wide range of ways of taking crucial breaks.

According to VAS, short breaks are essential for carers as they enable them to continue caring while maintaining their own health and well being.

VAS carer support worker Karen Hannay said: “Good breaks, as part of a range of support, help prevent ill-health, stress, isolation, crisis and breakdown. Some carers and the people they care for very happily use traditional statutory respite services, where the cared for person goes to a building or service to stay for a few hours or a few days. Other people don’t find this works for them or their loved one and have wondered what else they could do instead.”

Islesburgh Community Centre will host the meeting.

Ben Hall, the development manager for a national scheme called Shared Lives, will be on hand at Islesburgh to explain how a new scheme could offer the opportunity for a young person or adult to stay in a home with a family and be part of their life for short periods of time on a regular basis.

“This is something that is not currently offered in Shetland but maybe could in the future,” said Hannay.

One carer, May, who looks after her son, will be coming along to speak about their experience of taking a different type of break.

May said: “We have always wanted to give Dylan the opportunity to explore and experience activities, which cater for his needs, in a supportive environment, whilst away from home.  Badaguish (an outdoor centre near the Cairngorms) allows him to do this, and gives us as a family peace of mind, knowing he is doing the things he enjoys.

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“We had always gone on holidays before as a family, and Dylan was a part of that, participating when he could.

“When we went to Calvert Trust, (an organisation challenging disability through adventure) everything was set up for Dylan and it was magical to see him being able to take part in everything they had to offer from swimming, canoeing, and carting, to doing his first ever zip-wire!”

Hannay said: “If any of these ideas sound like things you are interested in, why not come to our event where there will be an opportunity to hear about some new ideas and chat with people about whether it could work for you.

“Following on from the event there will be some money for five or six families to use to try something different, we can tell you more about this at the event.”

For more information, please email or phone Karen Hannay – 01595 743923 or

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