Changes are planned to a service that offers the growing number of carers looking after a loved one across Harrogate and Craven the opportunity of taking a much-needed break with peace of mind.
The charity, Carers’ Resource, has been awarded a two-year contract by North Yorkshire County Council to deliver the carers’ sitting service and will work closely with the council to explore ways of enhancing the service.
It is estimated that one in eight people across both districts care for a family member, friend or neighbour. This free carers’ sitting service provides an important lifeline, giving a temporary break from the day-to-day pressures they face looking after a loved one who cannot be left alone.
It enables carers to have a life of their own, take part in activities, pursue their own goals and promote their wellbeing.
For a short time, usually two to four hours a week, the sitter can provide companionship, support and personal care and assistance that would normally be provided by the carer, inside or outside the home.
This can include accompanying people who need care on leisure activities, such as trips to the cinema, the library or going for a walk.
The service is open to anyone over 18 who is looking after someone with a physical, mental or learning disability, or who suffers from substance misuse, dementia or a life-limiting or terminal illness. All carers need to have had an assessment in order to be referred.
It takes over the existing contract from Crossroads in Harrogate and district, and Carefree in Craven. Staff from both organisations, as well as Carers Time Off, will move to Carers’ Resource to ensure a smooth handover and help provide the service in the future.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Clare Wood, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration, said:
The work done by carers is invaluable. They help their family members, friends and neighbours to retain their independence and carry on living in this own homes, which we know is what most people want.
It is vital that we recognise carers’ contributions and provide the support they need to carry on with their own lives while caring for their loved ones. The carers’ sitting service can be a lifeline, allowing carers to take some time for themselves, safe in the knowledge that their loved one will be well cared for. We look forward to developing the service with Carers’ Resource across Harrogate and Craven.
Chris Whiley, Director of the Carers’ Resource, said:
Caring can be a demanding, isolating and all-consuming role and carers can often neglect their own needs and health. We’re delighted to pool all our combined skills and expertise into a more integrated service that will generate benefits for both Harrogate and Craven’s caring communities. It creates a strong platform to take sitting services into a new era and offers real potential to bring about improvements.
Once we are up and running smoothly, we will be looking at the service people receive and exploring ways of enhancing it to ensure that it is best meeting the needs of carers. This will include the development of initiatives that will pave the way for us to support more people who would benefit from it more quickly.
Carers’ Resource merged with Crossroads Airedale and Bradford in 2013 and has been developing its care services in carers’ homes since then. The service has grown in Airedale and Bradford and is keen to build on this success in North Yorkshire.