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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 24/03/2021

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. 


  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • V&A Dundee  

    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.

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