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Respitality in Shetland

We are delighted to announce that Respitality Breaks are now available for our carers once more!

The Respitality initiative has been coordinated by Shared Care Scotland since 2014. Kind and passionate businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector donate breaks to the initiative, which are then passed on to unpaid carers in need of short breaks from routine (which is vital for their health and wellbeing) by carer organisations across Scotland. Since launching the initiative, Respitality has facilitated breaks for over 3000 carers with the support of over 350 businesses. In Shetland, since autumn 2017, we have provided 99 breaks to carers through the Respitality Scheme at an estimated cost to local businesses of £9,961.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on unpaid carers. In Scotland, the “Caring Behind Closed Doors” research by Carers Scotland estimates there are now 1.1 million unpaid carers in Scotland (which is 1 in 5 people). They also found that a staggering 78% of unpaid carers in Scotland are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the coronavirus outbreak. Reduced care and support services, and paid care workers isolating meant many unpaid carers in Scotland had, and still have, no choice but to care round the clock for loved ones with complex health conditions and disabilities – without any hope of a break. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) of unpaid carers are providing more care as a result of local services reducing or closing.

This has had a devastating impact on their health and wellbeing, with more than half (53%) of unpaid carers saying they felt overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities during the outbreak and worry about burning out. These statistics are a reality for unpaid carers every day, and why it’s so important that they have access to regular short breaks from routine.

No matter what the break is, it provides unpaid carers with a chance to recharge, which is vital for their mental and physical wellbeing. It could be a reflexology session, a leisure break, going to a concert, enjoying a meal out in a restaurant or even an overnight stay.

For more information and details on how to apply for a Respitality Break, please visit:

Respitality in Shetland | Voluntary Action Shetland - Virtual Carers Centre (

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