Crossroads (Newton Stewart and Machars) Care Attendant Scheme have made another leap forward as they launched their website recently.
Set up in 1985 through the joint initiative of Machars Action and Dumfries and Galloway Health Council, with funding from the Job Creation Scheme then in place, this local Crossroads Scheme has grown and developed into the largest charity in the area providing care in the community.
Starting with six care attendants, a part-time co-ordinator and clerical assistant with, it now has 63 care attendants, a full-time manager plus three other part-time management and admin staff and 96 service users. Over 22,000 hours and 122 over nights have been delivered in the last six months.
The constraints of the initial funding stream was far from ideal, but it allowed Crossroads to deliver much needed respite care to a small number of service users in the area. When it came to an end a few years later, the voluntary management committee were forced to close down the scheme.
After a brief break, the award of a grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council to fund six Crossroads schemes across the region meant that Crossroads (Newton Stewart and Machars) Care Attendant Scheme could once again open for business. The voluntary management committee set about re-organising the running of the Scheme with renewed vigour, minimising cost to deliver respite to as many service users as possible.
The combination of being a local group, which knows the people and the area, but supported by a national organisation, providing a framework for quality assurance as well as legal and more general advice, has proved to be invaluable. The support of the local community has always played an important part in the success of the Newton Stewart Scheme. In financial terms, the overwhelming support at fund-raising events and the contributions of local organisations as well as individuals, some carers and service users, to the Friends of Crossroads funds has been gratefully received. It enables the Scheme to respond to emergencies and provide extra palliative care and cover for other exceptional needs.
The Scheme became incorporated as a limited company with a voluntary Board of Directors and most funding still comes through the council’s social services department, who determine, via a care plan, what is to be provided for those they refer, but many people or their carers now hold their own funds via personalisation and self-directed funding and private service users are also catered for.
Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme always looks to the future – hence the development of the website, developed by Mary Mackenzie of local web designers, Kirkmoor.com. An event was organised to celebrate the launch, to enable invited guests to meet service users, carers and the Board, and to introduce this new tool, which sets out to widen awareness of the service provided.