National "Share the Care Week"

DSC_0126National Share the Care Week – focus on more disabled children getting short breaks

From 22-29 March 2014 Bristol City Council joined together with Short Breaks Network – The Short Breaks Charity and hundreds of other short break services, families with disabled children and short break carers across the UK to make a BIG difference in the life of a disabled child and their family by recruiting additional short break carers.

Share the Care Week was part of the BIG Breaks campaign which aims to double the number of disabled children getting short breaks in the UK. In Bristol 25 disabled children and their families are currently waiting for a short break.

DSC_0142Disabled children/young people can miss out on activities and opportunities outside the home which help them to build up some independence from their own family as they grow up. Providing short breaks makes it possible for children/young people to gain new experiences and meet new people whilst, for their parents or carers, it means some extra time for themselves and for any other children in the family.

Short Break carers come from all age groups and all walks of life. They are recruited and approved in the same way as other foster carers. Once approved, short break carers are carefully matched up with a child/young person who is gradually introduced to them. If this goes well, a pattern of visits is agreed, perhaps an overnight stay every two or three weeks or a weekend each month. Short break carers receive an allowance, training and support from the Short Breaks team and any requirement for special equipment will be assessed.

Brenda Massey says said: “We have a real need for more Short Break carers in Bristol, who can help disabled children take part in community activities and provide a well-deserved break to parents and carers from the demands of caring for a disabled child.”

Megan, a Bristol Short Break carer who has cared for K now aged four since she was two, once a month overnight and every Friday afternoon says,  “Having a disabled child to look after brings challenges but also a lot of joy. It is great for our girls to learn that people are all different, and they totally take it in their stride.  Seeing how naturally helping K comes to them when she needs something, or can’t make herself understood, makes us really proud. Seeing how K has grown and improved each time she comes makes it all worthwhile.”

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a short break carer Bristol City Council would love to talk to you. Please call us on 0117 3534200 or visit our webpages www.bristol.gov.uk/shortbreaks

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