As Scottish Tourism month gets underway, Scottish charity Shared Care Scotland is showcasing its unique approach to social tourism in an event which celebrates the bringing together of Scotland’s vibrant hospitality industry and organisations that work to support the nation’s unpaid carers. And, it is something worth celebrating. In just four years since the Respitality project began such is the success that over 1,000 unpaid carers have now enjoyed short breaks with an estimated total value of just over £50,000.
The Respitality conference, which takes place at Hotel du Vin in St Andrews on Monday 19 March, will bring together hospitality industry supporters, together with champions from carer’s organisations to review the achievements of Respitality so far and look at potential opportunities for future development. Bringing together the concepts of Respite + Hospitality, Respitality sees the Scottish hospitality sector gift breaks to unpaid carers who might not otherwise get a break from their role. And this unique way of providing short breaks to carers has multiple benefits: not only in helping challenge traditional concepts of respite, but in helping business raise their local profile and respond positively to the need for accessible tourism opportunities.
Speaking ahead of the event where she’ll present a keynote speech, Cabinet Secretary for Culture Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “By donating breaks to Respitality, businesses are allowing those in the community to access what they can offer, when they normally would be unable to. Respitality provides a bridge between the hospitality sector and local carer’s organisations to make this possible.”
As well as keynote speeches from both Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop, and Minister for Public Health & Sport Aileen Campbell, delegates will also have the opportunity to hear how the hospitality sector can get involved in Respitality, and see those already involved getting recognised through the Shining Star Awards.
But for David Cochrane, Chief Executive of Hospitality Industry Trust, the rewards for taking part in the Respitality programme go far beyond recognition. “Supporting Respitality is a simple and worthwhile way for the hospitality sector to give back to unpaid carers in Scotland. And, from the feedback we get, we know that the benefits are felt long after the break has taken place. I’ve proudly supported this innovative project from the beginning and look forward to seeing it continue for many years to come as more and more business get involved. "