Tag Archives: centre

A day in the life of…The Senior Carers’ Support Officer

Our Senior Carers' Support Officer, Tom
Our Senior Carers’ Support Officer, Tom

I do a bit of everything: in terms of supporting carers I offer advice over the phone, as well as visiting them at home for longer support planning sessions.

Having been a carer myself, for multiple people, I know how tough it can be, often with no reward.

This understanding enables empathy, whilst being able to discuss the challenging aspects of being a carer: they may not have acknowledged or be struggling with the more complex feelings of guilt, anger or sadness, be it with anyone else or even to themselves. A good example of this is recognising that you can’t ‘fix’ the person you care for, and that’s ok; or coping with the effects of dementia on a loved one: you end up grieving twice. Grief in itself is a whole other ballgame…

I also work with a group of carers delivering training at Bath University. We teach Social Work Students the importance of carers, how to support them and treat them as expert partners. Leading on from this, I have been out in the community for the past couple of years raising awareness of what a carer is and encouraging agencies to refer to the Carers’ Centre. The most people I spoke to was 100, but even speaking to one person is worthwhile as they will tell one person, who will tell two people, and so on.

I also manage a team of people here at the centre. This brings its own challenges, but none have sued me for distress yet so I must be doing something right…

– Tom

Our Sponsored Birthday Walk

Walk1The sun shone on our Bath Centre last Sunday as 55 fantastic walkers completed our 20th Birthday Sponsored Walk through the Two Tunnels. It was amazing to see such a range of people walking, including some singers from the Jenny Peplow choir (who performed a fundraising concert for us just a few weeks ago!) and 9 year old Jack, who was eager to get going right away. After a welcome from Claire and Janine, the walkers set off at 11am, with smiles all round and even a few dogs!

Thanks to the fabulous weather, many of our walkers completed the full 9 mile route, only stopping midway for a pub lunch or a picnic –although Steve was on hand with the minibus for any carers that just wanted to complete the 4.5mile walk. Back at the centre, our walkers were rewarded for their time and effort with cream teas and mocktails, provided by our Chair of Trustees Jill Tremellen.

Continue reading Our Sponsored Birthday Walk

Our green-fingered gardening team

Our fab garden volunteers!
Our fabulous Garden Volunteers!

In 2014, the Carers’ Centre was generously donated a garden from the One Show. 18 months on, the garden looks as fresh and vibrant as ever, thanks to our wonderful team of garden volunteers. The garden volunteers meet every Thursday morning to water plants, weed flower beds and ensure the garden looks inviting for carers, staff and professionals visiting the centre.

We’re thrilled to announce that the group is now being led by John Tucker, a gardening guru, who has led many gardening breaks at our Centre. John will guide gardeners through the necessary jobs and provide expert advice on how best to do the work. He has many years of experience as a gardener and deputy manager of Prior Park Garden Centre so he really knows his stuff!

Continue reading Our green-fingered gardening team

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

Spring is in the Air

photo 1With the days are getting longer and coats getting left at home more often, it’s safe to say that spring is definitely in the air. This is great news for the Carers’ Centre – with our summer programme in the pipeline, we can start planning more and more breaks to take place in our beautiful garden, or outside in the rolling countryside of BANES.

Last spring saw our carers explore Bath, Bristol and beyond, as we held trips to Bristol Zoo, Ston Easton Park, Ammerdown and the Royal Crescent. We also held educational breaks, like our photography course at Bath City Farm and ‘Gardens Are Good For You’, which taught carers essential gardening techniques to help their gardens look fresh and bright for the summer. These breaks were well received and Jane (our senior wellbeing officer) is planning more fun activities as we speak.

Tomorrow our wonderful garden volunteers will meet, and hopefully enjoy their work more now that the rain is stopping – at least it was stopping when we wrote this blog post! On April 16th our carers will go foraging for plants to make delicious and nutritious soups and salads, and on Saturday, 7th May some adventurous carers will join Jane Harvey on a ramble through Chew Valley, in a beautiful walk that combines gorgeous scenery with some light exercise and is great for carers of all ages.

Aside from all of this, there’s no better way to celebrate the darling buds of May than joining us for our Spring Craft Fayre, also taking place on Saturday, 7th May. The Fayre is from 10am-2pm and will be held at our Woodlands centre on the Lower Bristol Road. After two successful Craft Fayres in 2015, we’re hoping Spring 2016 will be even bigger and better. There’ll be live entertainment, children’s activities and some homemade refreshments, so please join us to have fun and raise some money for the Carers’ Centre!

Read more about our Spring fayre on our website: https://www.banescarerscentre.org.uk/help-us-fundraise/may-craft-fayre/

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!

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.