Published Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Offering a child a night away from home is like throwing a lifeline to them and their family according to one of our carers.
Anne, a Short Break Carer in the Hamilton area, has been offering children an occasional break away from home for more than 10 years. She said: “I have one boy who has been coming to me for nine years and a wee girl who has just started. They only come one night a month or maybe once a fortnight but I absolutely love it and so do they.
“One night does not seem like much but after one of my children first came to stay the grandparents she lives with got in touch to say it had been years since they had been able to have a night out together and it felt like winning the lottery.”
A recruitment drive has now been launched for Short Break Carers across South Lanarkshire who provide the backbone of a vital service supporting families facing challenging circumstances.
Short Break Carers are part of the council’s Family Placement Team and are paid for their valuable work. And they often fit this commitment around their employment. They are supported with full training when they start and on an on-going basis.
Anne added; “The training and support are excellent and I do really feel part of the bigger team. I had been considering fostering when I first heard about short breaks and it seemed like a route to work up to full time foster care. As soon as I started I realised I could help three or four children and their families at the same time and I have not looked back.
“Through choice I mainly have children with disabilities or other additional support needs and while that can mean a bit more work it is so rewarding. My own grandchildren or nephew come round to play with the children and have made some really firm friendships.
“You always get the chance to see a child before they are placed with you and assess whether you think it will be a good match. There has only been two occasions in 10 years when I have said no. Both times it was because I felt the children would need a setting with two adults and I am a solo carer.”
Family Placement Team Leader Eileen Leber said: “Short Breaks is a vital service and has a huge impact on families. You can actually see parents and carers looking completely revitalised by just that one night off.
“Anne is a solo carer with a grown up family but our carers can be couples, younger people or families. In fact anyone over the age of 21 can work with the Family Placement Team to offer crucial short breaks - all that is needed is a room in your home and the enthusiasm and qualities necessary to give children and families some breathing space.”
The Family Placement Team is currently recruiting for Short Break Carers across South Lanarkshire - for more info please email the Family Placement Team or phone 01355 806424.
An open recruitment evening is being held at Lanark Memorial Hall from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 20 September where carers and support staff will be on hand to discuss what the role involves and answer any questions. Alternatively contact the team at the above number and they can arrange a home visit.