Could you be a Short Breaks carer?

30th October 2020

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is urging the public to consider becoming a Short Breaks carer for children with a disability.

Short Breaks Carers give parents of children with disabilities the opportunity to take appreciated breaks on a regular basis, whilst also providing children with fresh experiences and offering them opportunities to bond and socialise with other families or carers.

Ciara and Brendan Heaney have been Short Breaks carers with the Southern Trust for just over two years.

“Being short breaks carers mean so much to us, it brings us a lot of joy and fulfilment.

Just being able to help families have that wee bit of time to themselves, for a wee bit of self-care or even for a full night’s sleep. It just gives us so much contentment.

“My advice to everyone would to become Short Breaks carers and to anyone that has thought about it, pick up the phone and make the call, you’ll not regret it.

“We give up a little bit of our time but in return we get so much more out of it.”

Meadhbh, whose daughter Cara avails of the Short Breaks Service, said that the service is very important to her family.

“The service is really important to us as a family because it gives us time away from our significant care duties with Cara. She requires a lot of one-to-one attention and it gives us a chance to get a good rest away from those responsibilities.

“And also for our son as well as he gets to spend some quality time with us on his own.

“But also for Cara as she loves to go to her carers.  Every time she sees their names come up on her little communication device, she is so happy, lots of smiles, and she cannot wait to go visit.

She gets spoilt rotten, she gets to go on lovely walks and gets spoilt with ice cream and everything, she doesn’t want to come home.”

Mark Irwin, Operational Manager Short Breaks, said:

“COVID has really put an awful lot of pressure on the families out there. Caring for a child is very, very difficult, caring for a child with a disability is ten times that and more.

“We urgently need carers now to fill those roles to help those families. People shouldn’t be daunted by the process it takes to become a Short Breaks carer as we have people from all walks of life who become carers, whether that be for a few hours, a couple of days or overnight stays. It is really what suits you and your lifestyle and also what suits the family that you are trying to help.”

If you can provide a short break for a child with a disability get in touch with our team today – 02837 564340 or email shortbreaks.team@southerntrust.hscni.net for more information.