“I was very stressed as a carer, but since coming to the group I have a better quality of life as I have people to talk to and have social activities. [the project] got me out of the house and let me meet other people”. (JF, from Parkinsons Self Help Group)
On Thursday 25 October, nine carers projects, funded by Investing in Communities 2, Supporting 21st Century life visited BIG’s offices here in Glasgow for a networking event.
The Carers Trust estimates that there are 657,000 carers in Scotland, with 16,701 aged under 25. BIG’s Supporting 21st Century Life investment area recognises the importance of carers, and the support that they themselves can need to be able to care for their loved ones.
As well as vital respite, carers’ projects provide a number of things – a friendly and understanding ear to reduce isolation, peer support, stress management techniques, help to address financial pressures or information on adaptations to a home. Often, projects work with the carer and the cared-for together.
Last year, the Supporting 21st Century Life team evaluated our progress under Investing in Communities – just as we ask our grantholders to do! We felt that we could do more to allow our grantholders to meet and learn from each other. As a team, we try and let our grantholders know what works for other similar projects: but it’s always better to get that information from those who know their projects best.
And so, the idea for a networking event was born. Nine of the projects came along to the office – Annexe Communities; Carers Forum Stirling District Area; Dundee Carers Centre; Helensburgh and Lomond Carers; Parkinsons Self Help Group (North Lanarkshire); Prestonfield and Direct Neighbourhood Workers Project; Princess Royal Trust Fife Cares Centre; Voice of Carers Across Lothian and Y Sort It.
It’s a good mix of different types of projects, those who have experience in BIG funding, and some very new grantholders.
We worked in small groups to look at the impact of our funding so far, our successes and challenges and share some tips on monitoring and evaluation tools. In he afternoon session, the Social Investment Business helped the projects look at sustainability, fundraising, and income generation, which is something that we know concerns a lot of our grantholders.
It was great to meet up with everyone, and to let grantholders do the talking!
For more information about Supporting 21st Century Life, click here