Tag Archives: disability

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

Young Carer Becca Featured on Comic Relief Red Nose Day

Becca RYoung carer Becca, 10, helps to look after her mum who has Fibromyalgia. The family, via the Carers’ Centre, were approached by the Comic Relief team who wanted to make a short film to capture what life is like for young carers — and we think they did brilliantly!

We are incredibly proud of Becca and all our young carers and hope this video can shed a little bit of light on what it’s like for young carers living in Britain today.

The film highlights the difference between Becca’s day and the day of one of her friends, Izzy, who isn’t a young carer.

As a thank you Comic Relief took Becca and her family to watch Blue Peter live!

Click here to watch Becca’s story.

A visit to John Tucker’s garden

John Tuckers GardenStory by Rosie Hurley

Wednesday 6th July saw a group of carers head to John Tucker’s garden for the afternoon. After being rescheduled from the week before due to rain, luckily the sun was shining as John and his wife Alison opened up their garden for us to have a look around.

In Box, with wonderful views looking across the valley, John and Alison’s garden had clearly been cared for over the years. From a pond at one end to an impressive vegetable plot at the other, with a cosy summer house and an apple tree in between, it was no surprise to hear that John has had many years of green-fingered experience.

Having been deputy manager at Prior Park Garden Centre, John has led a number of other gardening breaks at the Carers’ Centre, and he leads the gardening volunteer team, who meet every Thursday morning to tend to the Centre’s garden.

After being greeted by their friendly cat, Chelsea, once everyone had arrived John spoke to us for a while, welcoming us into his garden and talking about some of its main features. Continue reading A visit to John Tucker’s garden

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!

National Young Carers Awareness Day – 28th Jan

Joe in our Carers Centre garden
Joe in our Carers Centre garden

Tomorrow is National Young Carers Awareness Day, a national event aiming to inform the UK of who young carers are and the hidden struggles they face every day. Therefore today, we want to highlight one of our brilliant young carers, who we named our Young Carer of the Year 2015.

Seventeen-year-old Joe Lomax is the main carer for his mum, who suffers with chronic back pain. Joe manages to provide this care while attending college and looking for part time work. This isn’t all: he is becoming increasingly involved in our Young Carers service, acting as a fantastic role model for other young people. Joe’s friendliness, warmth and compassion means he always welcomes new Young Carers with a smile.

During the Young Carers ‘Big Day Out’ trip in August, Joe provided hands on help for the YC team, assisting the youngest boys to build rafts and row boats, while also organising the children effectively. At our bike workshop later that summer, Joe spoke to various trustees about the work he was doing to the bikes, providing an informative and funny description of the day’s events. They were really impressed, which helped their decision to fund more Young Carers activities in the New Year.

Joe is one of our most popular Young Carers and a true example of how amazing these young people are. It was an honour to award him our Young Carer of the Year 2015 and we can’t wait to see him again this year!

Young Carers Awareness Day is on Thursday 28th January – please get involved or donate to support Young Carers like Joe. You can find more information from The Carers Trust here: https://www.carers.org/young-carers-awareness-day

“It’s not just people who are grey who get Alzheimer’s”: Tracey’s Story

Tracey with her 'Unsung Heroes' Award at our Annual Award Ceremony
Tracey with her ‘Unsung Heroes’ Award at our Annual Award Ceremony

Tracey (pictured left) is a smiley individual full of love and laughter but it wasn’t all fun and games last year, when her husband Paul was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s aged just 54.

“I remember Paul would come home from his job in construction and say that some of the young guys at work were hiding his tools”, Tracey says. “At the time I didn’t think much of it, but now I realise it was the start of his memory problems”. After seeing his GP, Paul was referred to the RICE Memory Clinic. When they entered the clinic, Tracey noticed the information, posters and leaflets available all targeted older people.

They were then given the devastating news that Paul has early-onset Alzheimer’s, a condition which affects 5% of the population. Despite this difficult diagnosis and the additional care she now gives to Paul, Tracey has continued running the house, working part time and helping to look after her two grandchildren. Tracey is even keen to set up an Alzheimer’s support group here at the BANES Carers Centre.

Looking back, Tracey says “I would love to see a picture at the Memory Clinic of someone younger, someone who is still working, someone with a mortgage and children. Because that is the reality. It’s not just people who are grey who get Alzheimer’s”.

Back in August, Tracey and her husband Paul appeared on ITV’s Lorraine to spread awareness of early-onset Alzheimer’s, and in October it was our pleasure to award Tracey with ‘Unsung Hero’ at our Celebrating Carers ceremony. We felt Tracey deserved recognition for her bravery and resilience during such a difficult time. Well done Tracey – you’re a star!

If you’re caring for someone you love and need support, contact BANES Carers’ Centre free on 0800 0388 885.

The Care Act 2014

Care-Act-Call-OutIn our most recent Annual Survey, many carers requested information about the Care Act 2014; a new piece of legislation all about carers and who they look after. Last week, Carers Centre staff all took part in Care Act training, to ensure our knowledge is up to date.

The Care Act 2014 aims to improve the rights, appreciation and wellbeing of carers in the UK. An interesting goal of the Care Act is the achievement of good wellbeing for every carer. The policy is very person-focused, meaning the independence, freedom and happiness of each carer is a big priority in the Care Act. Wellbeing is a current political buzzword and a hugely important thing to aspire to, but as a concept it is hard to define. As a result, the Care Act introduces specific rights to wellbeing; something that is inherently unspecific. It’s almost trying to bring universal rights to something that is very personal.

One of these rights is the entitlement to a carer’s assessment if you are seen to have a need for one. Currently, you have to provide ‘regular and substantial’ care to receive an assessment, but the new Care Act means the amount of care is almost irrelevant. If the local authority thinks you need an assessment then it is now your right to receive one. The training was very informative but it was exhausting to get our heads around! There’s so much legal jargon to understand and endless bits of paper to grapple with. However, it was great to learn more about it, and I can’t wait to see how it shapes the lives of carers in the coming months.

Twelve weeks on: An update on the RUH Carer Hub

Some Carers Hub cakes made for our launch in September
Some Carers Hub cakes made for our launch in September

Twelve weeks ago, we officially opened the Carer Hub at the RUH in Bath. The Hub is located in the atrium of the hospital and is manned by trained volunteers every weekday. The Hub is a great way to meet new carers and inform people about what we offer at BANES Carer’s Centre.

Many people who enter the RUH leave with a devastating diagnosis that will change their lives forever – but what of the loved ones who accompanied them? There is so much support for people receiving bad news, but often their family members can feel lost, confused or lonely. They may enter the RUH carefree and leave as a carer, unsure of what to do next.

The Carer Hub is there to help.

Volunteers at the Carer Hub can talk to people becoming carers for the first time about what support is on offer for them in BANES. They can also signpost people to external organisations and provide a network of support for a carer who may feel lost and alone. Additionally, the Hub demonstrates the RUH’s commitment to helping carers and making sure they feel supported.

The Hub has faced some challenges – mainly that people assume it is just another seating area rather than a designated space for carers! However, the Hub is becoming increasingly popular with carers using the hospital, as it is a permanent place for carers to visit us if they need to. Volunteers have also said they’ve had many powerful and poignant interactions with carers. This is a great encouragement and we hope the success of the Carer Hub increases even more in 2016.

Why do we need a place for carers?

The Carers’ Centre is in the process of buying our building in Bath, ‘Woodlands’.

Carers give up their time and energy to look after friends and family who can’t manage on their own. This can be tiring, stressful and lonely. We believe that no one should care alone. We want a future where every carer can find a place of support here with us.

_DSC3207Carers like Sophie, 10, a young carer whose dedication to her caring role makes wise beyond her years. As a young carer, she helps to look after her 8-year-old brother Ben, who has Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, a developmental disorder.

‘He’s cheeky and lovely,’ says Sophie. ‘I wouldn’t swap him for any other brother!’ Ben often tells Sophie: “I love you more than the highest mountain in the world.”

But it’s not easy for Sophie. Ben’s condition means that he’s often awake, which makes it hard for Sophie to get enough sleep. His needs also take up much of their mum’s time, so Sophie doesn’t often get to enjoy mother-daughter time.

Woodlands is a place for Sophie and other children like her to play, have fun and enjoy their childhood. She loves going on the young carers’ trips and activities as she says they help her to relax and not worry as much. Keeping the building will provide a dedicated space for young carers’ activities indoors and outdoors.

Can you donate to our capital appeal to help us buy Woodlands, and keep our home for carers like Sophie? In return, your name will be added to our ‘Mural of Thanks’ within the building. Even small change can make a big difference.

Thank you.