Sponsored Walk Set to Raise £2,000+ for Carers

We held our second sponsored walk last month on Saturday, April 21, to raise awareness of unpaid carers and the challenges they face.

Forty walkers (and a few dogs!) participated in the six mile walking route to raise money for carers looking after sick, elderly or disabled loved ones in Bath and North East Somerset. The group raised or pledged over £2,000 for the charity.

The group walked (some in fancy dress!) from Bath Carers’ Centre to Saltford’s Bird in Hand pub and back again, totaling just over six miles.

One of the walkers involved said: “It was a privilege to take part.”

Local solicitors Mogers Drewett were the main sponsor for the event, with support from Co-Op Mount Road and Co-Op Marksbury.

Kate Norris from Mogers Drewett, who also took part as a walker, said:

“We were so pleased to be involved in the walk, both as a participant and sponsor of such a fantastic event to highlight the great work that the Carers’ Centre does and the lifeline support it provides both to its members and their families.

We see the extremely positive effects and impact the Centre has on our clients and are keen to do what we can to support that. ”

The Carers’ Centre provides support to approximately 4,000 carers from the BaNES area, helping them to manage their caring role by offering information, advice, counselling, befriending and respite opportunities.

We also support young carers from as young as 5, who will often help with extra duties if they have an ill or disabled sibling or parent.

Budding Fundraiser Helps Raise Money for Young Carers

Finley with two of his helpers

After seeing the picture of the Carers’ Centre minibus with its tyres stolen, 7-year-old Finley knew he had to take action. He decided to hold a cake sale at his primary school in Bishop Sutton to raise funds for young carers and help get the bus repaired.

Finley’s family and school jumped on board with the idea, and with the help of the school PTA, Finley’s cake sale was a huge success. He raised £200 for the Carers’ Centre!

Finley said: “It was a lot of fun, lots of people helped and were really happy to come to the cake sale. I saw the photograph of the minibus and wanted to do something to help. The school does a lot of fundraising so I asked if we could do the cake sale for the Carers’ Centre.”

Finley’s mum Kate, who works at the Carers’ Centre, said:

“I’m really proud of him for deciding to do that for others and also very grateful of the PTA who helped massively both with time and effort baking. There were some amazing cakes on sale!”

Finley added: “Thank you to everyone for giving money and especially to everyone who donated the delicious cakes for the sale!”

We are super proud of Finley’s initiative and say a big thank you to him for his hard work.

Join Super Sonia on our Sponsored Walk

We are holding our second annual walk on April 21 and walkers may raise an eyebrow or two along the route. Fancy dress is being encouraged and our CEO Sonia will be donning a Superwoman outfit to lead the way.

Sonia says she hopes the walk will raise awareness of the Carers’ Centre’s work as well as funds.

‘It may seem silly walking in a fancy dress outfit, but as well as being fun it makes a real point. Often carers can be hidden in our society, tirelessly working to look after someone who is sick or disabled. We want to make them seen and ensure they get the acknowledgement and support they deserve.’

‘Obviously we’d also love to raise as much as possible but we also want people to get involved with their community, so all we’re asking is that people try to raise £25. Our walk in 2016 raised over £3,000 which was a great result for our first sponsored walk. We hope we can smash that target this year!’

With both 3 & 6 mile routes along the cycle path to Saltford, this family friendly event is accessible to all. The funds raised will make a real difference to local people who are caring for sick, disabled or frail loved ones.

The walk will also be an opportunity to say farewell to Sonia, who after eight years in post, is moving on from her role as Chief Executive. She is pursuing interests abroad but will stay on as a ‘distance fundraiser’ to continue writing bids and grant applications for the Centre. We are so glad Sonia can join us for the walk before she heads out on her next adventure!

To find out more about the walk, and sign up, click here or ring 01761 431 388

Guest Post: Hear from Young Carer Alex

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My name is Alex, I am 12 years old and I go to Ralph Allen School. I help to care for my 10-year-old sister, Izzy, who has developmental delays. She is both great fun and very hard work. I love her very much, but there are times when I find caring for her very difficult and stressful. I would like to tell you about my experience of the Young Carers organisation and why I think it is so incredibly important.

Many young carers don’t have access to things most kids do, either because their parent or parents are busy looking after their sibling or because their parents themselves need looking after, so are physically unable to transport them, or supervise. This can result in missing out on a lot of things, which doesn’t feel great.

My life felt a lot harder when my sister and I were younger, because she needed constant help and I felt there wasn’t enough attention to go around. Right now it’s tougher for my 8-year-old brother, Toby, than it is for me. It’s easier to entertain yourself when you are older by, say, meeting your friends in town, and I can just bus myself there and back, but when you’re younger, you rely on your parents a lot more.

In my family, our lives revolve around my younger sister. Continue reading Guest Post: Hear from Young Carer Alex

Half of infant young carers under ten are suffering broken sleep to care for family members

Young carer with her sister

Thursday 25 January is Young Carers Awareness Day (YCAD), a national day of recognition for the 700,000 young carers in the UK who provide care and support to family and friends who are disabled, ill, elderly or misuse substances.

A snapshot survey released by charity Carers Trust today reveals a high proportion of infant young carers (aged 5 – 10) surveyed by the charity are regularly suffering from broken sleep to help look after unwell family members.

There are now nearly 10,000 young carers under the age of eight in England and Wales who perform unpaid caring duties, with the most recent Census in 2011 finding a shocking 83% increase in the amount of young carers aged 5-7 since 2001 (2).

Carers Trust CEO Giles Meyer says, “The findings from our survey reveal a harsh reality for the very youngest young carers in the UK today, almost half of whom are regularly being required to get up during the night in order to look after their unwell family members.

“It is a tragic situation that children who have barely started school are losing sleep which is so significant to their development, and in the night-time, being exposed to and handling issues such as their siblings or parents’ panic attacks or epileptic seizures when they should be getting important rest.” Continue reading Half of infant young carers under ten are suffering broken sleep to care for family members

“Before I met your volunteer, I wouldn’t have considered myself a carer,”

Cupcakes at the Carer Hub

As you hopefully will know, as avid readers of this blog, we help run a Carer Hub information point at the Bath Royal United Hospital. We do this in conjunction with Carers Support Wiltshire, Friends of the RUH and the RUH NHS Trust.

Recently we heard from a carer who was introduced to our service via the Hub and think her story is worth sharing. She captures a lot of the thoughts and feelings that we come across so often when talking to people looking after someone. Read on to hear from Kathryn, a carer from Radstock:

“I’ve been caring for my mum for 5 ½ years now, since my father passed away.   She’s 91 years old and has been in and out of hospital on and off, for around 5 months now, it’s been very stressful.  She is now back at home.  I worry so much about her and feel that I never do enough and that I should be doing more.  She lives independently, and wants to remains so, but fortunately lives within a 30 second walk from my house.  I feel guilty about having time away from her, but luckily I have a very supportive husband who is also very kind and caring to mum, having cared for his parents for many years.

“I was visiting mum in the RUH, Midford Ward, when approached by a Carer Hub volunteer.  She asked which area I lived in and handed me a BANES Carers information leaflet.  Up until that point I had been unaware of the organisation.  I read the leaflet and realised that I could benefit from the wonderful things that were offered, and if other carers could do these things then so could I!  Continue reading “Before I met your volunteer, I wouldn’t have considered myself a carer,”

Carer Story: Mel & Toby

 Mel & TobyMelissa Nash is a mum to two children, and her eldest Toby was diagnosed with Autism at age 4.  

“My lowest point was at a Tesco’s. Toby could go in any Tesco’s in the western world except for our local one. We got in the door and he started screaming, over and over, and it got louder and louder and the rest of the store was getting quieter and quieter. Eventually I was approached by the manager, who was very understanding and I said, I just need this – whatever it was. And she said ‘just have it and go,’ and I left the store sobbing. I didn’t go out for a good couple of years after that.” 

“I learned that you can’t spontaneously do anything; a day trip for example has to be planned with military precision,” said Melissa.  

“In mainstream school he just couldn’t cope. He would sit under his desk. I would collect him and he would throw his bag at me, spit in my face; just the anxiety of the day was too much for him.  

“Once he changed from mainstream school to supported school, he knew instinctively that was the place for him, he became much calmer and more accepting of the way things were.”  Continue reading Carer Story: Mel & Toby

Celebrating Carers 2017: Success!

AGM blogFriday, 13th of October was the day of our annual general meeting and Celebrating Carers awards ceremony. Despite the unlucky date, the evening was a great success and was much enjoyed by all attendees.

We are so fortunate to have our wonderful host, Ali Vowles, return to us again this year to really make the evening special. She is such a fantastic presenter and this year was no different, even when some of the script pages went wandering off! As always we are incredibly grateful for her support, so thank you Ali.

The evening was an opportunity to recognise some very special people who have supported the Carers’ Centre, carers in our community or indeed carers themselves who have achieved so much.

Our first winner was one you would have read about before; young carer Becca who looks after her mum. Since being featured on Comic Relief, Becca has used her platform to educate and inspire her peers and adults alike, putting together a presentation and role-play for her school to explain what it’s like to be a young carer.  It was fantastic to reward Becca for her efforts and hopefully inspire her to continue to educate her community for years to come.  Continue reading Celebrating Carers 2017: Success!

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Rosie’s Story

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.

Here’s Rosie’s story, who cared for her husband Den who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“I found the Carers’ Centre about six years ago –I was referred by my GP. I was caring 24/7 for my husband Den, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and on top of that I had a very difficult full-time job. There was a week when I had come down with a cold – just a cold – and it was just the absolute end of the tether for me. I was exhausted.  I didn’t know what to do with Den or how to manage being unwell for a few days. I think that was the point for me when I thought I needed to get some support.

“The first thing the Carers’ Centre did for me was to send me to Ammerdown, a wellness centre, for a 24 hour respite. It was just incredible. I had a bath. I went for a walk. It sounds silly but when you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, telling them you’re going up to have a bath doesn’t mean anything. It’s just not possible. Continue reading Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Rosie’s Story

Living Well with Dementia

Ruth Maurice_edAccording to the Alzheimer’s Society, about two thirds of people living with dementia in the UK are living at home – usually with the support of a relative or friend who is their carer.

Looking after someone with dementia – the umbrella term for degenerative brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s – can be incredibly upsetting, isolating and painful. But there is help, support and understanding available that can make things a little easier to cope with.

Founder of Singing for the Brain, Chreanne Montgomery-Smith, said “people hear and read so much about dementia in terms of a decline and the progression of symptoms – that is by far the overwhelming narrative – but people with dementia show us every day that it is possible to live well and to have a progression of hope.”

Ruth Holbrook, who looks after her husband Maurice (both pictured above) has been involved with the Carers’ Centre and other local services since Maurice’s diagnosis. Because Ruth had worked in health and social care, she knew what support was available. Continue reading Living Well with Dementia