HOP Member Local Solutions’ Mytime initiative has been named as one of 50 ‘New Radicals’ by Nesta and the Observer for its creative approach to supporting carers. Every two years, Nesta and the Observer pull together a list of 50 radical thinking organisations and individuals developing creative ways of tackling society’s biggest challenges.
Mytime, part of the charity Local Solutions, connects Liverpool carers who would benefit from a break from their demanding caring roles with local businesses offering complimentary leisure, cultural and educational activities.
Breaks have included overnight hotel stays, afternoon teas, theatre tickets, football club tours and even Barista training. The idea of the scheme is to give carers space to relax and recharge, and offer some social interaction, helping them return to their caring role with renewed energy and confidence.
“There have only been two times in my life that I have felt special and that was one of them. You forget who you are when you’re a carer. It was a real treat to relax and just switch off.” – Mary, 76, who cares for her daughter, after enjoying a Mytime break.
The initiative which was born out of Liverpool Carers Centre, started when Hazel Brown, head of Carers services at Local Solutions approached the 5 star Malmaison Hotel to ask for an overnight break for a carer. They began donating an overnight stay each month to a carer and other hotels quickly followed suit. Following investment from the Big Lottery, the scheme has now grown to 48 organisations regularly offering a variety of complimentary breaks to carers.
The team now plans to take Mytime national and are creating a toolkit to help replicate the model in other areas.
“It’s a real honour to get this recognition but we’d like there to be no postcode lottery for access to Mytime so I’d like to get more people and organisations on board across the country. We’ve seen the impact having a break can have on a carers and I’d like carers to be able to make use of it wherever they live in the UK.”
Hazel Brown, head of Carers services at Local Solutions.