The Mayor of Frome has joined calls for more people to change the lives of disabled children and their families as Short Break Carers.
Somerset County Council is seeking Frome residents to come forward who can help disabled children or teenagers on a regular, short-term basis.
Short Break Carers look after disabled children and young people, mostly on a respite basis, such as one weekend a month, or two evenings a week. The child or young person might have a learning disability, a physical or sensory disability, significant health care needs, or a combination of these.
Frome Mayor Kate Bielby, who is herself a parent carer, said: “For families who care for children with disabilities, the opportunity to receive a break from caring is invaluable. Just a few hours a week can make a huge difference and may be the one thing that keeps a family together and able to cope. They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and this couldn’t be more true of children with disabilities. I’m sure there must be people in Frome who would find this supportive role enjoyable and truly rewarding.”
Michelle Curran is a 37 year-old Short Break Carer from Wells who says she “always knew [she] would go into the profession” because of her experiences growing up.
Writing on www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk, she says: “I find it very rewarding to help families who need support, but also get a huge amount of enjoyment when spending time with these very special children.”
She continues: “The thing I most enjoy about Short Break Care is seeing the progress the children make, despite some of the challenges they face. They have great determination and courage, and with the right input and patience these children can achieve so much.”
Justine is a Frome mum whose teenage daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome and autism, has received respite care for the past four years. Her blog is also available to read on www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk
She writes: “If you’re going up a mountain, and you’ve got altitude sickness, you need some support,” she says. “You need an oxygen tank. I needed some support and Short Break Care was my oxygen tank.
She adds: “…Ruby responded differently to [her respite carer]; her attachment to me relaxed because she had somebody else to do things with … I genuinely feel you are a very special person to be a Short Break Carer … the current wife-and-husband team who care for Ruby are wonderful – they look after her so well, it’s a delight to leave her there. She’s been going for several months now and really enjoys it.”
The Council offers fantastic training, a competitive allowance, and the chance to join a dedicated team.
To read more about Justine and Michelle’s personal experiences, as both a Short Break Carer, and a parent whose child benefits from the service, read their blogs at www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk/news
Anyone thinking about becoming a Short Break Carer is encouraged to come along to a forthcoming information event in Frome on Thursday 15 October, 7pm-8.30pm at Critchill School. The session will be an opportunity to have your questions answered, and meet members of our friendly team.
You can also find out more about becoming a Short Break Carer by visiting www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 587 9900.