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Family Support Service goes from strength to strength

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Jan Hiddleston with Kay McCutcheon

QUARRIERS, one of Scotland’s leading social care charities, is celebrating the success of its Family Support Service in Dumfries a year on from its move to bigger premises.

The service has had a brilliant year, receiving a glowing report from the Care Inspectorate, the body that regulates and inspects care services in Scotland. In addition to this, the service was shortlisted for the National Learning Disabilities Awards 2017 in the SportingChance category.

Quarriers Family Support Service provides help to children, young people and families affected by disability throughout Dumfries & Galloway. With offices in Dumfries and Stranraer, Quarriers provides family-based short breaks for children with disabilities, and support for families affected by disability by providing help to parents, children and young people at home or in their local communities.

Short breaks are offered to children with complex needs and disabilities, and there are currently 13 foster carers providing short breaks to 17 children. The Care Inspectorate report published in June 2017 rated the quality of care and support provided as ‘excellent’, the highest rating available; whilst the quality of staffing was said to be ‘very good’.

Anita and Evie

Anita Stott, 60 from Dumfries, was a nurse for 32 years and in her retirement she decided to take on a new role as a foster carer with Quarriers. She has fostered three children with complex needs on a short-break basis in the last eight years.

Anita currently fosters Evie, a nine-year-old girl with autism, who struggles with some everyday activities. Speaking about how rewarding the role is Anita said: “I love what I do. I didn’t know much about autism before looking after her – but I do now, and I’m so glad I can support and help her mum who is working and copes with a lot. My care allows her a break and a chance to be supported.

“She likes being outside so we go on nature rambles searching for red squirrels or going to the park or the beach. Much of her world is so confusing and I like to see her relax and enjoy her surroundings.”

Most short-break foster carers support a child for 29 overnights per year; Anita provides up to 52, which reflects the additional help that the young girl’s mother needs.

Anita added, “The training is very comprehensive and doesn’t pull any punches. You need to know and understand everything about a child or young person’s life to then be a meaningful part of it.”

The service is looking to expand its social support into adulthood, with a new project called ‘The Next Step’. This will support young people and adults up to the age of 30 and will provide a range of interventions and support to increase their skills, self-esteem and confidence.

Jan Hiddleston, Service Coordinator at Quarriers Family Support Service, Dumfries & Galloway said: “We are so pleased with the success of the service over the course of the last 12 months. Our glowing report from the Care Inspectorate reinforces our commitment to providing the highest quality care. Our principle aim at the service is to improve the lives of children and young people with complex needs and disabilities through the provision of short breaks and permanent placements. To be given such high ratings is a real testament to the level of care and skill provided by all our support workers and foster carers.

“It’s been a great year for the service and to be in a position to be launching a new social support service for young adults up to the age of 30 is really encouraging.

“We want to keep spreading the word of what we’re doing and ask anyone interested in becoming a short break foster carer or family support worker to get in touch. If you are looking for support from Quarriers, please do get in touch with us so we can start the conversation and see how we can help to make your, and your family’s, lives better.”

Quarriers encourages those keen to make a difference to the lives of children with disabilities and their families, or those looking for support, to contact the service on:

Quarriers Family Support Service

161 Brooms Road,

Dumfries

DG1 2SH

Tel: 01387 249888