COLUMNIST: Peter Metcalfe on Fun and Breaks

MOST people will agree that they are impressed by the dedication and hard work that carers undertake day in day out, most often staying in the background and seeking neither plaudits nor recognition.

What is recognised, though, is more support is needed and from my discussions with carers, a short break would sometimes be very welcome indeed.

Therefore it gives me great pleasure to bring to your attention a new service from the county council.

Fun and Breaks - the FAB service - is part of the Short Breaks programme for disabled children and young people aged up to 18. Fun and Breaks volunteers support disabled children and young people to access social activities, giving them opportunities to increase their confidence and independence, make friends and learn new skills while having fun. Parents, carers and siblings can use this time to have a rest, catch up on day to day activities or spend time with each other.

The volunteer may take the child or young person out to an activity - to a club, swimming, or the park or they may stay with them in the child’s home playing together, baking, reading, doing arts and crafts or simply relaxing.

Each family is matched with one volunteer who offers a regular commitment of two hours per week arranged by mutual agreement. Visits can be flexible to suit the volunteer and family and can be on any day between 7am to 11pm.

Families can access the service directly.

Full training, including first aid, will be given to each volunteer, as well as ongoing training and support. Each volunteer is required to complete an enhanced disclosure and barring check. Expenses can also be claimed.

Find out more about volunteering with Fun and Breaks by watching the new film clip at or call 01243 777100.