Fiona Garrett from No Strings Attached (Scotland) talks about her experience of funding via the Self Management IMPACT Fund.
No Strings Attached (Scotland) is an independent registered charity, committed, through asthma management and music education to providing opportunities for young people with asthma to help them better self manage their condition and to more fully participate in all that life can offer through music and the performing arts through the playing of wind instruments.
No Strings Attached were approached by the Carers Trust following their successful asthma management project for based in schools in Govan. They wondered if Young Carers could come along, which set Fiona from No Strings Attached to thinking. She researched what was available for Young Carers, consulted with groups of young carers and spoke to a range of partners to help develop a project idea for funding.
“We wanted to know what would work best for Young Carers – one girl couldn’t come every week, so we asked ‘When can you come?’ instead”
Fiona found that a person centred approach worked best, and developed a project which could be flexible to the particular needs of Young Carers. No Strings Attached were determined to keep their sessions fun, enjoyable, informative and helpful. Young Carers they spoke to already had lots of things happening in their lives that they had to deal with, the project had to recognise that.
“It’s not a clinical setting, the nurse is not in a uniform, it’s fun and the young people are able to share things more easily”
No Strings Attached were able to offer the opportunity to Young Carers to play musical instruments, without the usual ‘tests’ which they had to pass at school. Young Carers welcomed the opportunity to do so, and join up with others who had asthma too to share and learn together – about music and their conditions.
“We’ve been able to give Young Carers the tools and information to understand their Asthma better – this is what’s happening and why. They can then take control.”
Young Carers were able to learn more ‘deeply’ about their conditions and make efforts to change behaviours which enabled them to get on with their lives, and focus on other responsibilities. No Strings Attached were able to learn from the Young Carers too, involving them in their evaluation, and acting upon their feedback flexibly and innovatively.
“Having funding from the ALLIANCE adds some credibility to our work, especially with partners like the NHS, it really helps”
No Strings Attached have been able to make good use of their connections through the ALLIANCE too. They continue to spread their message through partnerships and connections they have made along the way. Fiona speaks regularly to groups of medical students, Carers Centres and other professionals to encourage more people to ‘think differently’.