Disabled people and their carers are reaching breaking point as they are unable to afford respite care, while increasing numbers of people head off on relaxing summer holidays.
Statistics show that the number of people going on foreign holidays this summer has risen compared to 2022, while in contrast, it has been more than a year since 41% of carers have had even a day off.
A recent study by American Express shows that 61% of people are planning a foreign holiday in 2023. This is up from 50% in 2022 and more than half of those surveyed are planning to take three or more holidays this year.
Leading charity Revitalise, who provide respite breaks and holidays for disabled people and their carers at centres in Merseyside and Essex, are supporting guests who are facing an acute affordability crisis and are struggling to access the breaks that they so desperately need.
CEO of Revitalise, Janine Tregelles CBE, said: “The crisis is down to people finding it harder to access funding for respite breaks due to cuts to critical statutory funding and the increased cost of living impacting how much they are able to save. Funding for respite has been reduced by 42% by local authorities in the last five years.”
Revitalise has launched their ‘Give me a break’ appeal, a major fundraising campaign to ensure disabled people and carers do not face barriers to getting the breaks they urgently need and to raise money for more people to take a break at their respite centres.
Janine added: “We are facing a crisis in respite care. Sadly, we hear about it every day from the guests we know so well through our centres.
“Carers are at breaking point because they don’t get any time off from the responsibilities that they carry out with such love and attention, and disabled people are missing out on their breaks. We have people who visit us who don’t see anyone else all year round. They come to Revitalise to meet up with friends and enjoy the connections and friendships that it is easy to take for granted. We have young men whose parents say that they come home as different people because their pain has been managed so well while they’ve been with us, and they have been energised by having a brilliant time.
“Our guests need to be able to continue to access breaks – they are not just a holiday, they are a lifeline. So many people are able to enjoy holidays despite the cost of living crisis and it should be no different for disabled people and their carers.”
Lisa Reardon has cared for her husband Paul for 38 years since he had a brain haemorrhage. The lack of respite care available to them meant that Lisa had to miss her mum’s funeral.
Lisa said: “Not having access to respite care has had immeasurable impacts on Paul and myself. I struggled to visit my mum while she was dying in a care home 200 miles away and could not attend her funeral for the same reason. I am now unable to collect her ashes again for the same reason. This is even before we get to Revitalise giving me chance for a breather and Paul a break from relentless home life.
“Having a head injury and a wheelchair user, Paul is unable to cope with stress. Revitalise was always such a great release for him from that.”
A survey carried out by Revitalise shows that 56% of people who need a break simply cannot afford to take one. The Joan Brander Fund, named after the founder of Revitalise, provides charitable funding to enable people to take a break but they are seeing more and more people trying to access this due to their statutory respite funding being stripped back. The ‘Give me a break’ appeal will boost this fund and enable more people to have a stay with Revitalise.
Further information about the charity’s ‘Give me a break’ campaign can be found at revitalise.org.uk.
If you, or someone you know needs a vital break, please get in touch with the Revitalise team on 0303 303 0145 or at revitalise.org.uk.