A new vision for respite and short breaks in Wales

Today Carers Trust Wales launch a vision for the future of short breaks for unpaid carers in Wales. Funded by Welsh Government, this roadmap for change has been developed in partnership with Diane Seddon, Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research, School of Health Sciences, Bangor University and Nick Andrews, Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) Programme, Swansea University. It will be used to help shape Welsh Government’s next steps in making sure that all carers can access appropriate respite.

Unpaid carers have long described difficulty in accessing appropriate breaks with or without the person they care for. This has inevitably had an adverse effect on the emotional, physical and mental health of unpaid carers. The pandemic has amplified the pressures facing unpaid carers across Wales making the importance of access to short breaks more important than ever.

Simon Hatch, Director of Carers Trust Wales said:

“Many unpaid carers have been caring throughout the pandemic with no opportunities to take a break from their caring role.

“Before the pandemic, it was clear that too many carers were reaching burnout or crisis point before they accessed respite support.

“We know that as restrictions begin to ease many carers will need support to access the breaks and it is important that we take this opportunity to deliver the breaks that best meet carers’ individual wants and needs.

“This report sets out strong examples of flexible, person-centred respite already being delivered in Wales. We hope that the recommendations contained within the report will inform the soon to be published Delivery Plan for Welsh Government’s Carers Strategy.”

The report sets out an ambitious vision for creative short breaks that are coproduced with unpaid carers and the people they support and reflect the personal outcomes they wish to achieve.

Based on feedback from carers, our Network Partners and other third sector organisations the report captures twelve key principles which will be used to inform future short break options and what they might look like in practice.

Alongside this the report calls for four key actions to be taken:

  • The development of National and Regional Short Breaks Statements
  • The creation of a National Short Breaks Information and Guidance Hub
  • A National Respitality Initiative for Wales, and
  • A National Short Breaks Fund.

Nick Andrews, Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) Programme, Swansea University

"Caring relationships are complex and unique and one size fits all approaches to respite are not fit for purpose. Our work with carers and the people they support points towards more bespoke and diverse short breaks, including links with hospitality and tourism."

Carers Trust Wales will continue to work with Welsh Government and the Ministerial Advisory Group for carers to identify opportunities to take forward the report’s recommendations at pace.

The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan said:

“ The physical and emotional impact of caring can be overwhelming. Unpaid carers across Wales play a vital role, often with little to no respite. Respite services can help carers look after their own health and wellbeing often providing much needed rest.

“ This year, we are investing £3million to improve and diversify respite for unpaid carers across Wales and I look forward to working with Carers Trust Wales, to implement the report’s recommendations to  ensure unpaid carers can access respite services that meet their needs and the needs of person they care for.”

Read the report