Sue Judge is a parent carer who looks after her son, Tobias, who has a diagnosis of Asperger’s, along with her other two children. Sue has struggled with the idea of calling herself a ‘carer’ to her son, despite his additional needs that demand more of her than a typical parent.
‘It’s a constant stress that is always there,’ Sue says, of being a carer. ‘I can’t leave Tobias on his own in the house. Caring for someone is a day in, day out job that doesn’t go away and that can be part of why it’s so difficult.’
Through her work, Sue meets many carers and says people often feel the same way as she did.
‘I’ve found it’s an incredibly common theme for people to feel like it’s ‘just their job’ to look after someone – particularly if it’s their child,’ says Sue. ‘And I say to those people that if you don’t look after yourself you can’t give, you can’t pour from a cup which is empty. There is help and support out there.’
When Sue’s mother became ill in 2014 and also needed looking after, Sue had to stop her work as a nutritional therapist for some time.
When she was ready to return to work, she was dealt a blow by a provider who cancelled 3 months’ worth of training sessions she had intended to run.
‘I realised then I couldn’t put all my eggs in one basket and that’s when I reached out to Clive [Brooks, Carers’ Centre Employment and Training Officer] to discuss my options.’
Clive provided a sounding board and encouraged Sue to network. After a career in the creative industry, Sue found it daunting to enter the corporate sphere but was encouraged by Clive.
‘Clive has been incredibly helpful and brilliant. He listens, pushes you gently in the right direction, and is encouraging and supportive,’ says Sue.
Sue has now met a business partner and started a company called Infinite Wellbeing, which has piloted a wellbeing programme to the Carers’ Centre staff and has won a contract to deliver a similar programme to a bank with a staff of 400.
Clive Brooks has been a key part of Sue’s journey from the point where she had lost confidence in herself to setting up and establishing a new business.
‘I come into the Centre in so many different roles – as a carer, a volunteer, a professional – and that’s why I’m so passionate about the Carers’ Centre as they have helped me develop in all those areas,’ she says.
Infinite Wellbeing offers bespoke wellness programmes for businesses across Bath and Bristol. Find out more at their website www.infinitewellbeing.co.uk