Taking a break from your caring role

Caring for somebody can be a full time job and it is important to ensure you regularly make time for yourself. Carers tell us that by doing something outwith their caring role every day, every week and month is one of the best stress relievers.

It is not always easy to do this however. We can help you think about what you would like to do, help point you to organisations, groups and respite centres that can help and, if necessary, help you access funding or support through your local social services. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and we can help you think about what would make a real difference to you.

Funding your break

Some people are able to fund their breaks and support privately. If however finance may be a barrier to accessing the support you need we may be able to help you find a charitable fund, discount or freebies that you may be eligible to apply for. We can also help you see if you are eligible for free support through the local authority.

Here are some of the ways you can fund a break:

  • VOCAL short breaks fund – carers can apply for a grant of up to £500 to help you take a break
  • Some carers are eligible for financial support through the local authority
  • Check out our Wee Breaks hub for more help on funding your break

Find out what is available

There are lots of organisations that can help but often finding the time to search for them can seem too large a task. We have collected all of the organisations we know of that could help in one, easily searchable directory.

  • Accessible accommodation – Remember you can take any care the person you care for normally receives at home with you while on holiday to make sure you get a break while you are away.
  • Clubs and activities – Some are suitable for the person you care for (e.g. Lunch Clubs, Day centres or Dance for Parkinsons) while some are suitable for you (e.g. SWRI, University of the Third Age, Ageing Well).
  • One-to-one support – this is often called ‘a sitter service’ or befriender. Someone can come to your house to ‘sit’ with the person you care for to give you a few hours each week.
  • Residential Respite Centres – where the person you care for can stay in a residential or nursing home or a centre designed to offer up to 24 hour support.
  • Supported Holidays


Not sure where to start? Our Wee Breaks hub is full of ideas and helpful pointers on where to start why not pop over and take a look!

See the information below for carers living in Edinburgh or Midlothian for more information on access and funding for short breaks.

If you live in Edinburgh please contact the VOCAL Edinburgh carer support team to find out more about organising a short break:

Contact VOCAL Edinburgh

Wee Break Midlothian works with carers, health and social care practitioners and other agencies to provide flexible quality breaks and improved access to respite services and opportunities for unpaid carers in Midlothian.

To find out more visit the Wee Break Midlothian website: weebreak.org or call 0131 271 3707.