Last week, Bath & North East Somerset Carers Centre held our Annual Celebrating Carers award ceremony, which recognises the huge contribution and sacrifice that unpaid carers make to look after their loved ones.
One category was ‘Unsung Heroes’, which awards carers who we feel deserve special recognition for their hard work and bravery in overcoming challenges in their lives. One Unsung Hero was Becky Belben, one of the 200 parent carers supported by the carers centre, and carer to her children with additional needs.
“I didn’t see myself as a carer – I was just mum,” Becky said. But with her two children, Taylor, 4, and Drew, 6, diagnosed with autism, her responsibilities are much more complex than the regular parental stresses.
“I have worked with children my whole life, so I thought, of course I can handle my own children. They are highly anxious, emotional children, but despite it being so demanding I was embarrassed, almost, to ask for help.”
After little success with another agency, Becky decided to give the Carers’ Centre a go, and made an appointment with Senior Carers’ Support Officer Lydia.
“She was just brilliant”, Becky says. “She made me feel completely at ease, and she told me I was doing really well – which I really needed to hear, at the time.”
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is not knowing what the future holds.
“The future has a big question mark over it at the moment, but we just take things day by day, week by week, really. We don’t know where we’re going to be in a year’s time. But having someone who I can email or text and ask questions, who can take some of the things off my massive to-do list, and just say ‘let me handle this,’ is a real lifeline.”
Empowering carers to recognise their role, and feel confident enough to seek help and put themselves first is one of the key missions of the Carers’ Centre. If you’re caring for someone you love and need support, contact us free on 0800 0388 885.