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How the Jones family got carer breaks

Barry Jones and his wife, Sheila, would like to go on holiday to Spain. While they’re away, they want to feel confident about the safety and support of their son, Jamie, who has a variety of learning disabilities, including dyspraxia and autism.

The couple, from Atherstone in Warwickshire, also want to organise some sessions with a care worker (sessional support) to help Jamie with cooking, shopping and going to social events.

Jamie has recently been given funding for support. The family approached a local charity that provides sessional support in the area, and they began giving sessions to Jamie. This allows Barry and Sheila to take a break from caring.

New scheme

The charity, Take a Break Warwickshire, told Barry about a new scheme which helps families find and book respite care and sessional support when they need it.

Breaks for Carers Warwickshire was created by Warwickshire County Council and the NHS Choices website for people with learning disabilities and their families. The countywide service lets carers book a break at any time with anyone who provides the service.

Breaks for Carers helps families compare service providers and choose services which are closer, cheaper or better for them. The website's booking service also allows families to see how other people have rated different support providers.

The idea for Breaks for Carers came from a carer who wanted to be able to book a break service online in the same way they could book a holiday. Warwickshire County Council designed the service with advice from a range of carers and people with learning disabilities. The council also wanted the service to support families with children going through the transition from child to adult services, as well as people who fund their own care and others who may not be in touch with the council.

Online nerves

Breaks for Carers offers reliable information as simply as possible. Barry, who was one of the first people to use the service, says: “I can find my away around the internet, and although new websites can be a bit daunting at first, I managed to use the site OK.”

“I’ve booked about four sessions so far,” he says, and he hopes that he will be able to schedule in support so that he can take a long-awaited holiday in the sun.

Barry says that Breaks for Carers allows him to see the whole range of break providers available across the county, and not just the few local ones he already knew about. He can also find out which services each break provider offers and how they differ from each other.

Breaks for Carers also provides listings of local transport services, as well as special concessions that carers can use during their break, such as discounts at restaurants and free entry to local attractions.

Carers' breaks across England

Breaks for Carers Warwickshire is just one of 12 pilot schemes happening across England. Look out for new break services in:

  • Bath and Northeast Somerset
  • Bristol
  • Derby
  • East Sussex
  • Hertfordshire
  • Lewisham
  • Liverpool
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Suffolk
  • Sunderland
  • Torbay

For more information about these and other local schemes, contact your local authority. You can find contact details by searching our directory of local carers' services, top right.

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Page last reviewed: 19/08/2013

Next review due: 19/08/2015

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