A short break enables you to have time away from your caring routines or responsibilities, to refresh your batteries and have time for yourself and the other people and things that are important to you. Two friends taking a break from caring over coffee and cake.

The purpose of a short break is to support the caring relationship and promote the health and well-being of the carer, the supported person, and other family members affected by the caring situation.

A short break could be a regular break from caring or a one off, and it could be for only a very short amount of time, for example an hour every week, or for a longer period. The important thing is it is time for you!  As part of your carer conversation and Adult Carer Support Plans we will discuss with you whether the support you need should be provide as a break from caring.

Fife Health & Social Care Partnership has developed a Short Break Service Statement. We define a short break as follows:

“A Short Break can take any number of forms in order to achieve the carer’s desired outcomes. The purpose is for carers to have a life outside or alongside their caring role, supporting their health and wellbeing.  This can also benefit the cared-for person and others (e.g. Family members) and may sustain the caring relationship.”

The purpose of this carers short break service statement is to provide information to carers and cared-for people so that they know what options are available for short breaks in Fife and Scotland, and how to access them. But we also recognise that this is more than ‘just’ a statement; it is a reflection of strategic choices and decisions about support for carers. The statement acts as a means for carers to consider whether a short break is the right outcome for them and if so, specifically what the long term benefit of that short break outcome will do for them.

The statement includes links to a range of organisations in Fife and across the rest of Scotland that may be able to help carers to think about their short break options. These organisations include:

Carers who meet the local critical eligibility criteria may benefit from a funded break if that is an outcome specified in the Adult Carer Support Plan.

If carers do not meet the critical eligibility level they may still be able to benefit from financial support for a short break through one of our partners. Many of our partners already support carers (and the people they care for) to access and benefit from short breaks. Shared Care Scotland’s website lists a wide range of short breaks for carers in Fife and nationally.

In order to benefit from a funded short break carers must have an Adult Carer Support Plan in place with the short break as a specific intended outcome, the short break must be for the primary benefit of the carer and the carer must meet the local critical eligibility criteria.

Short breaks will not necessarily take the form of a long break away from the person the carer cares for. In many instances a successful short break will be a regular one or two hour break with other members of the family taking over the caring role in order that the primary carer can have time to themselves. Short breaks can be very creative. The important point is that the break is intended to give the carer time away from caring.

For example, some carers enjoy taking a run or brisk walk.  Carers are welcome to take part in the five park runs (St Andrews, Kirkcaldy, Lochore Meadows, Dunfermline and Loch Leven) that take place on a regular basis across Fife. It’s free to join and participate, and its a way to get and stay fit and health.  And its an activity carers can participate in alone, with family and friends, and with or without the person they care for.  This is your break so you decide.

Our Carers Short Breaks Service Statement includes information on what short break support is available to carers in Fife. For a broader perspective with ideas of breaks across Scotland or support relating to specific conditions please visit the Shared Care Scotland Short Breaks Directory.

Fife Voluntary Action manages a small grants scheme which gives funding to carers to enable them to take a short break from their caring responsibilities. The Creative Breaks Fund run by Fife Voluntary Action, in partnership with Fife Carers Centre, Crossroads and Fife Young Carers is aimed at unpaid carers in Fife.  The Scottish Government’s Time to Live Fund provides funding through Shared Care Scotland to support to carers in their highly valued role to enable them to take a short break from their caring responsibilities.

Carers can apply at any time – there are no deadlines. However this Fund is currently scheduled to end in September 2019.  Priority will be given to caring relationships under strain and those carers whose wellbeing and health would benefit from a break.  Visit the Fife Voluntary Action Creative Breaks web-site pages for more information about the fund or to apply.