Tag Archives: BANES

Our Spring Craft Fayre 2016

CCMayCraftFayre-20The sun shone on our Woodlands building this weekend as we held our Spring Craft Fayre. It was lovely enjoying the weather and our centre was bustling with so many activities going on – we had Morris dancers, face painting, kids crafts and of course some beautiful handmade gifts on offer.

To kick start the day we were treated to a dance by Somerset Morris, who not only performed for us but also treated us to a quick workshop on how to do a Morris dance. It was great to see so many people getting involved in this, including Sonia and Janine, our CEO and Senior Development Manager!

Continue reading Our Spring Craft Fayre 2016

Giving Something Back: Trudy’s Story

Trudy with husband Mark
Trudy with husband Mark

Trudy cares for her husband Mark, who has a hereditary eye condition and is registered blind. For many years Trudy “just got on” with caring for Mark, but eventually struggled with her own emotional and physical wellbeing. Trudy says “I felt like I didn’t matter because Mark was the one who was suffering” – but many carers find that when their wellbeing suffers, their ability to care also suffers. Thankfully her GP referred her to our centre, where Trudy received support from our Community Activator service.

Trudy worked with our Community Activators for three months and saw a decrease in her weight and blood pressure. She says “the main thing was realising that I was not alone – the Carers’ Centre really helped me to know that other people were going through something similar”. This one-to-one support even helped Trudy’s confidence, and eventually she felt able to attend breaks run by the Carers’ Centre. Trudy says; “Mark has had a great deal of support and training from Blind Veterans UK. Now I am able to leave him at home and meet my friends again or go shopping without having to worry so much.”

Now that her confidence and wellbeing has improved, Trudy doesn’t just attend breaks with the Carers’ Centre: she often helps out at events and talks. She says; “I want to give something back to the Carers’ Centre as they have done so much for me”. Trudy volunteered to help at our last Craft Fayre in November and most recently lent a hand at our fundraising concert. She also regularly delivers talks to the social work students at Bath University so they can understand the realities of being a carer and volunteers at the RUH Carer Hub, providing support and advice for fellow carers.

Trudy’s devotion to give something back is always so inspiring and we’re so grateful for all of her hard work!

Join us for our Spring Craft Fayre!!

Some of the handmade delights that Deb will be selling at our Spring Craft Fayre
Some of the handmade delights that Deb will be selling at our Spring Craft Fayre

Spring is officially here and preparations are well underway for our third Craft Fayre here at the Carers Centre, on Saturday 7th May. Our Craft Fayres are a fantastic way to fundraise for the centre, as well as raise awareness of carers in the local community.

Our Craft Fayres also give carers the chance to make and sell their own products. Deb Frogley is one of the carers looking forward to selling her crafts at our 2016 Craft Fayre. She says; “I’ve been paper-crafting and scrapbooking for 6 or 7 years, after a friend got me into it. With crafting, I’ve been able to let loose, let myself make mistakes and know that not everything has to be ‘perfect’…in fact, bodges have often led to even better ideas!”

As a carer, it’s important for Deb to have a hobby that can help her cope with her caring role. “Being creative is part of my DNA (I’m a writer) and it keeps me balanced and sane!”, she says. “Craft and creativity are a huge release for me – but it’s only this year that I’ve taken the plunge and entered fairs, and BANES Carer’s will be my second!”.

Our previous craft fayres have been huge successes and we can’t wait to see what carers like Deb have to show us on the 7th May. Deb says; “I’m very much looking forward to it, and hope people will respond well to my handmade items”. We know they will Deb, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store!

If you’d like to buy some unique and handmade crafts, please join us on Saturday 7th May at our Bath Centre, from 10am-2pm. There’ll be a wide range of stalls, live entertainment, children’s activities, and homemade refreshments – it’s set to be a great day and we’d love you to join us!

A Day in the Life of…The Marketing & Communications Officer

Emma Tucker(This post was written by our Marketing and Communications Officer, Emma. This is the first in a series of “Day in the Life Of” blogs so watch this space for more!!)

A normal day for me usually starts off with me answering emails! As part of my communications role I manage our general enquiries inbox which will be things like referrals from professionals, questions and requests from carers and information about local or national campaigns to do with health and social care. Once these are answered I will go onto any number of tasks I have planned for that day…

Something I do often is speaking to carers who have used our services and asking them how we’ve made a difference in their life. Telling the stories of what we do is the biggest part of my role; be it via our quarterly magazine, which I design and produce, on our social media channels or website, through local newspapers or radio stations, or putting together case studies for funders to explain how we help our community (and why we should get more funding!)

It’s also my job to make sure that families who need our support are aware of our services. I do this by producing lots of materials that explain our services – like leaflets and posters. Some of these I will design myself or I will work with an external graphic designer. Once a month I will put together an email update that goes out to our carers, along with professionals and organisations we work with.

If I have any hours left in my day I will work on developing our fundraising programmes, like coming up with ways volunteers can get involved or how we can say thank you to people who support us. This also means supporting any events that we run like craft fayres or concerts and being available to help out at these on the day.

– Emma

Family Time: Bath City Farm

The beautiful view surrounding our carers as they enjoyed Meeting the Romans at Bath City Farm
The beautiful view surrounding our carers as they enjoyed Meeting the Romans at Bath City Farm

Last week, carer families had the chance to have a break when we took them to ‘Meet the Romans’ at Bath City Farm. We were blessed with amazing sunshine and a beautiful view over the rolling hills of the city.

Once we were in the farm, our carers explored what life was like in a Roman Bath. The children got to create mosaics, make sundials, eat Roman food, see real-life artefacts and even chat to a Roman Gladiator. Then our carers had a fantastic time exploring the farm and seeing all the animals. The pygmy goats were a definite favourite but I personally loved Rufus, the Gloucester Old Spot boar!

After all this sightseeing, we stopped for a spot of lunch at the fabulous Trough café. The Carers’ Centre provided each family member with a £5 food voucher to make our families lives that little bit easier. We all enjoyed looking at the Bath landscape as we ate, and all felt really lucky to be there on such a lovely day!

As always, it’s so great that we as a Centre can treat carers to a fun day out as a family. Having the chance to get out in the sunshine and do something different like meet the Romans is worth so much to carers, and it’s wonderful to know we’re helping to relieve their caring role, even if it’s just for a few hours. Bath City Farm had so many fun activities on offer, and the carers really got a lot out of the day.

Planning our Family Day activities can be challenging, but the hard work always pays off once we see the smile on the faces of a family caring full-time. We had a blast at Bath City Farm and can’t wait for the next activity – hope to see some of you there!

Eight Months On: Our Information & Advice Service

dreamstimelarge_24720610Info-sign-RS

At the Carers’ Centre, we offer each carer the option of a personalised support planning session to ensure they are getting the right support with their caring role and to help identify what services would best help them. These sessions usually have a three week waiting time, and sometimes carers have questions that need answering more urgently. To meet this need, the Carers’ Centre also offers an Information and Advice Line, available on 0800 0388 885  from 10am-1pm each weekday.

This allows carers to ask quick questions or seek guidance on who can bets hep them with an issue. We can answer questions on a range of queries, including telecare, benefits, home aids and financing.

Carers tell us they appreciate getting a quick response and we aim to respond to enquires received outside of our the Line’s opening hours within 2 working days.

The Benefits of Arts and Crafts

watercoloursWhen some people hear the word ‘art’, they may think of classrooms filled with children wielding paintbrushes or pompous ‘artistes’ in front of empty canvases. But for carers, art means so much more than just paint; it’s about expressing creativity, getting out of the house, and doing something new.

A recent study shows that art can “improve well–being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”, showing the amazing benefits of creative activities. Art has even been shown to reduce the chances of depression, stress and anxiety, because it increases positive emotions while reducing distress.

According to the study, carers who engage with our art groups may also see “improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”. Social networks are so crucial in fighting isolation, which so many carers struggle with due to their caring role.

At the Carers’ Centre, we are highly aware of the health benefits art therapy can provide, which is why we hold regular Art breaks for both young and adult carers. We run an arts group every other Wednesday for our Young Carers, who have the chance to explore creative mediums such as photography, clay and paint. Over half term our Young Carers enjoyed a drama and storytelling workshop; a more physical way to express fresh ideas and creativity.

For adults, our current breaks programme is filled with arty groups, where carers can explore a huge variety of different art styles and techniques. We have a watercolour painting course, willow weaving, pottery, glass blowing and patchwork all coming up in the next three months, so there is truly something for everyone.

If you’re a carer and would like to take part in these groups, or if you want to donate so we can keep supporting carers through art projects, please call our centre at 01761 431388.

BathHalf 2016

Our staff cheering on runners at the BathHalf on Sunday
Our staff cheering on runners at the BathHalf on Sunday

Last Sunday, the BathHalf celebrated its 35th year, with an astounding 13,000 people running to raise money for good causes or beat their personal best. The runners had perfect weather for Bath’s biggest annual event; the 13.1 mile course around the beautiful streets of this gorgeous city.

Last year the Half raised over £2.1million for charity, and this year we were honoured to be one of the organisations people could raise money for. This year, nine locations around the track were chosen to be ‘Battle of the Bands’ bases, and we were lucky enough to be chosen to host the ‘Edsel Furys’, a 60s garage and surf-style rock ‘n’ roll band whose infectious sound had runners smiling as they went past.

Our Deputy CEO and former BathHalf runner David said that when he ran, the Lower Bristol Road was a quiet and almost dispiriting part of the track. Thankfully we were able to change that this year, and with the ‘Edsel Furys’ in tow, we made sure the Carers’ Centre was a hub of noise and positivity for every runner involved! With signs, sweets and Carers’ Centre t-shirts, we made as much noise as we could for all the runners as they went past. We’re so grateful to every runner who took part – you are all so incredible and we thank you so much for your amazing dedication!

We want to say a special thank you to Taryn, Emma, Phil, Chris, Dan, Rich, Pete, and Norman, who ran to raise money for our centre. You’re all brilliant and we can’t wait to find out how much money you raised for carers in BANES!

The date for 2017’s BathHalf has already been set as the 12th of March – if you’ve been inspired by this year’s runners and want to take part next year, why not run and raise money for the Carers’ Centre? We’d love to see you there! Contact us on info@banescarerscentre.org.uk / 01761 431388 or @carerscentre1 to join our 2017 team.

Shining a Light on our Amazing Carers

A relieved Katy after her 10,000ft skydive!
A relieved Katy after her 10,000ft skydive!

At The Carers’ Centre, we aim to shine a light and give a voice to carers who often go unnoticed in society. Carers perform an inspirational role and sacrifice so much when they look after someone, and we are constantly amazed by their resilience and bravery. This blog post aims to highlight just a few of the wonderful things our carers have achieved.

In July 2015, Katy did a Skydive for us, helping to raise over £1000 for the centre. These funds helped to buy our Woodlands centre, providing a permanent home for carers in BANES. The following month, one of our carers Tracey was featured on ITV’s Lorraine, speaking with her husband Paul about his early-onset Alzheimer’s. In October it was a delight to name Tracey (along with Becky and Jennie) as an ‘Unsung Hero’ for her bravery and determination.

Featuring in our latest edition of CareTime, Donna Smith cares for her four grandchildren and lost 30lbs in 30 weeks through our Community Activator programme. She now feels happier and healthier thanks to Jane and Kath, and leads a more active life.

Many of our carers feel empowered enough to start businesses, managing work around their caring role and turning a hobby into profit. Some carers even bring their creations to our biannual Craft Fayres, helping to raise money for the Centre as well as for themselves.

Other carers use their confidence and initiative to set up groups, both at our Centres and within their local communities. For instance Jayne saw a need for a support group at her child’s school, and now runs a regular group for up to fifty parents. Meanwhile, at our Bath centre, Bev runs a regular support group for carers of people with challenging mental health conditions.

These wonderful people prove how determined carers can be, and that despite having complex home lives, they are willing to give back to the community. We’re so grateful for all their hard work and determination and can’t wait to see them all soon!

Hearing the Unheard: Our Carers Voice Meetings

VoiceAt The Carers Centre, the voice of the carer is at the heart of everything we do. Feedback is vital to our organisation and we’re always asking carers for their opinions on our service. As well as giving carers the chance to get their voice heard within the Carers’ Centre (which helps us shape future services) we also want to get the voice of carers heard within their local communities.

Thanks to some funding from Comic Relief, we are now able to set up a Carer Voice group which will meet every three months, at our Bath and Radstock centres. Our CEO and project leader Sonia Hutchison says it’s great that “carers can get together to influence the Carers’ Centre and local services”.

Yesterday was the first of these Carer Voice groups, meeting at Radstock in the morning and Bath in the evening. I attended these meetings for about half an hour to conduct a group interview for my support group project, asking carers what they would like the Carers’ Centre to offer them. It was a great opportunity to talk about the project and I gained some fantastic ideas from the carers.

What struck me most was the atmosphere of the group; that these carers were not seeking to complain about services, but instead wanted to give constructive feedback on how we could be even better. It’s great to have the chance to speak to them about what they want, and all we can do is try and implement their ideas as best we can.