carers003Live Active Leisure (LAL), Perth & Kinross’s independent leisure trust, has recently partnered with their local Carers’ Hub to provide free access to their facilities as part of the Respitality initiative.

Respitality originated in the USA and has been rolled out in Scotland to great success. It is now supported by the hospitality industry and Scottish Government and is coordinated through Shared Care Scotland. It connects local carer centres with hospitality providers who gift a short break or experience which is then matched up to give unpaid carers a well-deserved break.

The idea to extend this care for carers into activity vouchers grew from an already successful working relationship between LAL and PKAVS, Perth and Kinross’s Association of Voluntary Services who operate the area’s carers’ hub.  The idea acknowledges that respite will mean different things to different people and a visit to a local gym or fitness class with a friend is in itself a welcome break from routine.

Gill McShea, Partnership and Funding Manager of LAL commented, ‘Taking time out to be physically active and socialise is proven to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. LAL are delighted to be a partner of the Respitality project and provide advice and support to help carers to benefit from this great opportunity.

She continued, “We’ve suggested each carer benefits from a maximum of 12 per year to allow them to enjoy a monthly visit. Not only will this give participants something to look forward to, it will also encourage positive longer-term changes to lifestyle and personal wellbeing.”

The initiative was launched during Carers’ Week at the end of June and was kick-started with a donation of 200 activity vouchers plus ‘buy one get one free’ refreshment vouchers for use in LAL cafes.  The activity vouchers entitle a carer and a friend to a free swim, gym or class at any Live Active Venue.

LAL have also gifted 30 Wellbeing MOTs appointments with the Wellbeing team where carers can learn more about their physical health and how being more active may help their overall wellbeing.

Since the launch, other sports and activity providers have come forward via the Scottish steering group to roll out similar voucher schemes for carers in their area.

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