Nationally we estimate 10,000 severely disabled children are waiting to be linked to short break carers who can provide them with regular care while giving their families a regular break from the demands of caring. Our research shows that "word of mouth" is the most effecitve way of recruiting new volunteers. We wish to create a national network of carers who can "tell a friend" and get involved in nationwide publicity drives to help us recruit carers who can then provide vital support to disabled children and their families nationwide.
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There is a national crisis in short break carer recruitment. Short break carers provide vital support to disabled children and their families. They reduce the social isolation of disabled children and help them enjoy activities other non disabled children take for granted. At the same time they give parents (and siblings)a regular break to help them cope with the demands of caring for a severely disabled child. At present 3,500 families are waiting for carers and thousands more children are not put on waiting lists as schemes know they will not be able to find suitable carers for them. These families tend to be those most in need e.g families of children with autism, complex healthcare needs and challenging behaviour. We have found involving carers is the most effective way of recruiting more carers. We wish to create a national network of carers to involve carers in a new Tell A Friend campaign and nationwide media awareness campaigns. This will give volunteers a key role in our BIG Breaks campaign which aims to recruit enough carers to double the number of severely disabled children in the UK benefiting from breaks to 20,000 by 2012.
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