Carers Link was established in 2004 as a registered charity to support unpaid carers in East Dunbartonshire. We are the only organisation in East Dunbartonshire dedicated to carers and last year supported over 1400 carers by providing support, information, advocacy, courses, groups and a listening ear. We want carers to have the best possible quality of life, both while they are caring for someone and if their caring role ends. Some carers contact Carers Link on a one-off basis to get the information they need at a specific point in time, while others remain in contact with the organisation for a long time and access a wide range of services. We support carers of all ages, and younger carers (8 to 25) get specialised support from our Linked Up service to help them cope with life at home, at school, in further and higher education and with employment skills.
- From 1st August 2019 to 31st March 2020
- Award: £6,588 via Call 3
- Data published on 360Giving
- Charity registered in Scotland SC034447
Carers Link provides a range of support services to carers, tailored to each person's needs at any particular time. One aspect of this support is 'Carers Call', an essential telephone support service providing emotional support to 551 carers (this year so far) over the phone. Talking with others is a fundamental part of our lives, but caring for someone can be an isolating experience. Carers Call addresses both the social isolation, and the need for information and support. This peer support service is delivered by nearly 30 of our volunteers - most of whom were carers - and managed by our Volunteer Coordinator. Sometimes the sheer amount of time and energy that carers dedicate to their caring role means that the carer can forget they are important too. The volunteers call to suit the carer, varying from weekly to 3-monthly. They build a relationship with the carer, making sure the conversation is focussed on them, and not the person that they care for. The volunteers answer any questions the carer might have about their caring role, and can refer the question to staff if the carer needs in depth support or advocacy. The relationship between the carer and volunteer means that Carers Call acts as a monitoring service, and the volunteer can spot early signs of increased stress or an impending crisis, worsening or breakdown of the caring role. They are also able to highlight any changes in the carers own health and wellbeing. The data collected for the Carers Census has highlighted the fact that at least 25% of the carers we support are parent carers and 31% were adult carers i.e. aged between 18-64. Given these demographics and our experience of delivering the service, we know that many of these carers work and so find it difficult to speak about their caring role over the phone during the day. We therefore seek funding via the CATS Fund to test whether offering Carers Call via digital communication will mean that more carers are able to engage with the service, and receive support that they would not otherwise have been able to access. This pilot will test the use of Skype or FaceTime, Live Chat, Click Meeting as well as traditional e-mail. To achieve this, we would like to replace the 8 PCs currently used by the Carers Call volunteers with new Windows 10 Pro PCs and install MS Office 2016 Standard. At present, the computers used by volunteers are the oldest within the organisation – almost 10 years old. These computers use Windows 7, have low levels of operating RAM and whilst sufficient for reading and typing in Microsoft Office Word are unable to cope with much more, certainly not the capacity required for online and digital communication. SEE ATTACHED DOCUMENT GIVING FULL DETAILS OF DELIVERY PHASES