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Could you be a Short Break Carer?

Could you be a Short Break Carer for children and young people in North Ayrshire who require supportive and caring adults to provide essential support via weekend or midweek short breaks?

North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s Families for Children Team is looking to assess and recruit short break carers for children aged from birth to 16 years who reside in the community with birth parents, as well as for children and young people who are living with kinship carers.

The service supports children who are at risk of being looked after outwith their family, as well as families who are affected by child protection issues such as parental substance/alcohol use or neglect.

For some families this may be a one-off requirement, while others may need regular short periods of respite to assist them in caring for their children.

You won’t need any formal qualifications, but you must have an interest in making a difference to a child’s life and have the ability to offer a nurturing and loving environment.

Applicants must be over 21 years of age, with single applicants welcome as well as couples. You do not need to own your own home, but you must have a spare bedroom.

Once the assessment process is concluded, the service will match a child or children with your skills and experience, and will aim to ensure that the same carer/child combination is maintained where possible to build positive relationships.

Short Break Carers will generally be required to provide a minimum of one weekend a month caring for a child.

One former North Ayrshire Short break Carer said: “We were respite carers for 5 years and got so much out of it, but unfortunately a change in our circumstances meant we were not able to continue.

“We really enjoyed the experience, as it gave the children we looked after the opportunities to do things that they wouldn’t normally be able to do at home.

“We spent time taking them swimming, going for walks with the dog, and lots of free, outdoor activities that we hoped they could continue to do when they went home to their families or carers.

“The best part was getting to see them grow and thrive. One of the children we cared for started coming to us when he was 7, and now ten years on he is a fantastic young man who is enjoying going to college.

“Without respite care, there is a real chance that he could have ended up going down a very different path.”

Councillor Robert Foster, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “For a variety of reasons, some children and young people may experience difficulties in their home lives.

“The Short Break Service gives them the opportunity to spend time in a family environment where they feel safe, secure and well cared for, and can also provide stability to their familes or carers by lending additional support and giving them a break from their caring responsibilities.

“This is an extremely important and rewarding role, and I’d urge anyone who is interested in applying to please get in touch to find out more.”

To find out more about what being a short break carer entails and details on how to apply, or to find out more about fostering and adoption, visit, call 01294 310300 (choose option 4 then option 1), or email

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