VisitScotland, in partnership with Shared Care Scotland and Carer Centres across Scotland, are piloting a series of virtual breaks for unpaid carers in Scotland from April to June 2021.
An unpaid carer is “someone who provides unpaid care to a family member, partner, relative or friend of any age who needs help to manage a long-term condition, disability, physical or mental health problem or addiction.”
Since COVID-19 impacted the UK, it is now estimated that there are 1.1 million unpaid carers in Scotland. Caring for someone else can be mentally and physically exhausting, and therefore breaks from daily routines are vital for unpaid carers’ health and wellbeing. It is often difficult for carers to take the time out to fully recharge, or to spend quality time on their own, with the person they care for or other family members and friends.
Respitality is a concept which creates opportunities for carers to take a break from caring without financial constraints or the stress of planning a break. Local carer organisations in partnership with the break donors from the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector, co-ordinate and plan all aspects so that carers can relax, enjoy time for themselves and take a break from daily routines.
With the impacts of the global pandemic being felt more heavily by businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector, we are looking to the visitor attraction sector to engage in this pilot. Donors can engage with individuals within their local communities; building visitor confidence for reopening their doors in the months ahead.
Respitality in Scotland is coordinated by Shared Care Scotland and they work in partnership with carers organisations covering 19 local authority areas. Breaks are donated free of charge by businesses in the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector.
The extended COVID-19 lockdown has motivated partners and donors to generate breaks in more creative ways, to engage with local communities and ‘open their doors’ to visitors in some way with 20% of breaks in 2020 delivered virtually.
Last year Shared Care Scotland and Carer Centres across Scotland trialled virtual breaks with their networks and the feedback has been extremely positive and carers have been inspired, many of whom cannot wait to visit attractions when they reopen.
Due to the success of these virtual breaks, the partners want to extend this activity and are creating a national pilot offering the visitor attraction sector an opportunity to get involved. The pilot will run from mid April till June 2021.
We are looking for 10 -15 visitor attractions to be part of the pilot.
Through the Respitality at Home pilot, you can help to ‘make a carer’s day’ by donating a virtual break, supporting unpaid carers across Scotland to take a break from daily routines and reduce social isolation.
It is simple and easy to get involved and donate to the Respitality at Home pilot.
Our Respitality at Home delivery partners will promote your break donation to carers, managing all communications with attendees. They can also support you with working out what to deliver, setup of a virtual meeting for your session, facilitation on the day and after the event gather feedback from attendees, so you can see the positive impact your session has made!
1. How to donate
You can discuss or donate to the Respitality at Home pilot by contacting Kerry Donaghy, Respitality Scotland Coordinator: email@example.com or call 01383 622462 or delivery partner Hayley Burton, VOCAL Partnerships Development Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 622 6666, please type Respitality at Home in the subject line of your email.
2. Delivering the virtual break
There are several digital and online platforms you may want to consider for virtual breaks including; Zoom, MS Teams and Skype.
In our experience of delivering virtual breaks at VOCAL we have found that Zoom is the easiest and most widely known platform for carers. We also offer digital carer training centred on using the platform, how to connect and engage whilst online building individual confidence.
VOCAL has also supported break donors to confidently delivery virtual sessions for the first time, facilitating and shaping new delivery methods with partners.
3. Shaping your break offer
To help you plan your break offer there are a few things you might want to consider:
- What do you normally offer to visitors and how can this be adapted for virtual delivery?
- When can you deliver the session - dates and timings?
- Who can you involve internally to support delivery of the session?
- Can you self-manage, or do you need support from Respitality to facilitate on the day?
- How will you engage your audience and make your session interactive?
- Consider what technical skills, WIFI connection and how you will deliver the session
- How offering a break links to your business, community engagement and CSR goals
- Resources and information you might like to share with attendees after the break, for example an accessibility guide. If you do not already have one, you can visit www.accessibilityguides.com to create one for free for your venue.
The positive impact of offering breaks to carers is felt by carers themselves, their families and also business and providers of breaks. Hear what carers and donors have to say.
There were many firsts for me here. My first zoom conference, my first cocktail making and tasting, my first introduction to Dewar's 12 year old blended (which for me was the highlight of the evening) and my first mobile quiz game.
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I was impressed with the hosts obvious enjoyment and knowledge of their subject. It was done in an informative and fun way with the quiz adding another fun element to the mix.
Respitality breaks are a brilliant way for Edinburgh Art Festival to meet new participants, in particular carers, who we are keen to build connections with as we work with groups and organisations to recover from the additional difficulties that COVID-19 has brought.
The opportunity to provide carers breaks has enabled Edinburgh Art Festival to introduce itself as a resource and attraction for carers throughout the year as well as part of the August Festival. Through our work with VOCAL it has inspired Edinburgh Art Festival and our artists to develop a way of bringing their work and workshops to a new audience’s online, combining contemporary art and textiles craft.
From an organisational point of view, it was hugely helpful to have the support of VOCAL in buying art materials and coordinating delivery. Allowing participants to keep the materials and equipment enables us to have future sharing events, and supports carers to develop their skills and enjoy a new hobby.
Dynamic Earth were thrilled to recently deliver two virtual breaks in partnership with VOCAL Carers Centre. Whilst our usual workshop offering at the science centre have not been possible, delivering sessions virtually has been a great way to engage with people and offer something a bit different!
Earth science is very relatable as we all inhabit the same planet and are influenced by many of the same things, even if we don’t always realise it. It provides lots of opportunities to examine how we interact with the world. Our staff loved engaging with carers and their families, to hear stories and sharing experiences. Carers provide such crucial support to our society, it was great to take time to have a break together to engage in new topics.
VOCAL provided great support planning, leading up to and facilitating the session. Keeping in touch throughout the process and liaising with carers and their families and advising what kind of content might best suit the group’s interests. They also facilitated the workshops via Zoom
We had the pleasure of hosting a virtual whisky tasting for unpaid Scottish carers to spread some cheer in the run-up to Christmas. With these carers in local lockdowns and managing increased caring responsibilities, this virtual tasting was a great way for them to unwind. It was also a way for us to show appreciation for these amazing people in the community who have selflessly stepped up for those in need.
The evening was a great success, and we received some fantastic feedback. We are pleased we could provide an alternative experience for the carers who sacrifice so much for their loved ones and contribute to making a carer’s day.
Shared Care Scotland
Shared Care Scotland work towards a vision of Scotland where everyone who provides unpaid care can live a satisfying life, with the assistance they need to take regular, quality breaks from demanding caring routines.
To do this they offer services including events, publications and research reports, and an online directory of short break services. As one of seven National Carers Organisations they also contribute to the development of policy and best practice for carers.
As well as coordinating the Respitality project, Shared Care Scotland also operate the Short Breaks Fund on behalf of Scottish Government, providing grants to third sector organisations that support unpaid carers to take a break.
VOCAL - Voice of Carers Across Lothian are a leading carers centre and partner supporting the delivery of Respitality breaks to carers across Edinburgh and Midlothian through their Wee Breaks service. VOCAL has supported unpaid carers in Edinburgh and Midlothian for over 25 years.
They offer a wider range of personalised individual support to carers to manage their caring role, the impacts of caring and to have a life alongside caring.
Their vision is of a caring society which respects carers as equal partners in care and meets its obligation to support carers; where carers care with confidence and in good health, are resilient, exercise choice and have a life of their own.
VisitScotland is the National Tourism Organisation for Scotland and aims to take advantage of the opportunities of the visitor economy to increase sustainable, inclusive economic growth, marketing Scotland as a tourism destination and the perfect stage for events, with the aim of attracting domestic and international visitors. Tourism is a force for good and has a part to play in not just providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of Scotland but delivered responsibly, also brings benefits to wellbeing and society.
ASVA is the trade member organisation for visitor attractions in Scotland. With over 260 organisations in membership, they represent almost 500 individual sites across the country. Their remit is to support the attractions sector, providing advice, information, statistics, networking and training.
ASVA has worked with Respitality before, supporting the vital work they do, giving carers the opportunity to take much needed breaks. They're delighted to be working them again on this initiative and will be promoting the opportunity for our members to get involved in offering virtual experiences that carers can enjoy from home.
Dewars Aberfeldy Distillery
Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery is proud to be able to provide fun and exciting experiences to those who sacrifice so much for others.
Their aim is to give carers the opportunity to discover the world of Scotch whisky and take a ramble through the history of Scotland's national drink, through the eyes of the Dewar family.
Dynamic Earth is aiming to embed community engagement across the organisation and to remove barriers to access, and respitality breaks are a fantastic way to reach more people.
They believe in empowering and inspiring people through sharing the amazing science of our planet and feel that no one should be excluded from this.
They are proud to support carers, of which there are many in Scotland. Dynamic Earth are keen to continue supporting such a valuable group in society, to share their knowledge of Earth Science, and also to learn from carers and their families.
Edinburgh Art Festival
Edinburgh Art Festival Community Engagement is an ongoing programme of learning and inclusion activities which puts the city’s communities at the heart of the festival and cultural production. It builds long-term relationships with contemporary artists, partners, schools, community organisations and groups.
Working with carers, providing respitality is an important factor in their programme, supporting carers with creative breaks to experience new activities suiting their interests and abilities, building creative confidence, and connectedness to their culture, community and city.
Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland cares for over 300 properties around Scotland including Edinburgh Castle, Fort George and Skara Brae. They strive to support inclusive access to their sites and deliver programmes which use these special places in creative ways to offer learning and wellbeing opportunities for all.
They recognise that carers may not have the time, means or opportunity to access HES sites. Respitality helps to overcome these barriers and opens up the opportunity to explore and enjoy their sites to new audiences. They want Scotland’s historic environment to be enjoyed by everyone and Respitality helps them with that goal.
Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland
Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland is a unique charity for the hospitality industry in Scotland, encouraging the development of anyone working or studying in the sector. Led and supported by the same industry it serves, HIT Scotland offers opportunities to broaden skills and grow personally through their inspirational scholarship programme.
This is all made possible through industry support and sponsorship of fundraising events and outdoor challenges. These events also offer everyone a chance to network with their industry community in a fun and relaxed way.
Our Mearns Tourism Association
Our Mearns Tourism Association (OMTA) has been established to bring together communities from the Mearns, located in the South of Aberdeenshire between Stonehaven and the Angus border.
The overall aim is to develop sustainable community and visitor tourism in the Mearns by show-casing the historical, cultural and natural assets of the area in an inclusive way. They work in a way that nurtures positive partnerships - both inside and outside the Mearns - with thier members and other stakeholders and work alongside carers organisations, ensuring carers are visible and supported.
Royal Collection Trust
Royal Collection Trust looks after the Royal Collection, one of the most important art collections in the world, and manages the public opening of the official residences of Her Majesty The Queen, including the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.
Through their work, including their learning programmes, they aim to help as many people as possible to access and enjoy the art, architecture and history of the Royal Palaces.
RZSS is a wildlife conservation charity that has been around for over 100 years, its mission is to connect people with nature and safeguard threatened species.
RZSS run Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park where they welcome and engage with thousands of visitors every year. Together with partners, members, supporters and communities they hope that connections with amazing animals will inspire connection to nature, encourage behaviour change and usher in a bright future for our natural world.
As Scotland’s first design museum, V&A Dundee tells a global story, investigating the international importance of design alongside presenting Scotland’s outstanding design achievements.
V&A Dundee features world-class exhibitions alongside the permanent Scottish Design Galleries, and a changing programme of commissions, events and activities.
They believe that a museum can play an important role in the wellbeing of carers, and look forward to continuing to explore and expand how V&A Dundee can support carers both locally and nationally.