Last month, the YC team treated some Young Adult Carers aged 17-24 (YACs) to a night of bowling at the Longwell Green complex in Bristol. Luckily, there were just enough of us to squeeze into our minibus, which was donated to us by The Wheels Project a year ago. Steve (the Young Carers Officer) was our driver for the evening and ensured the journey there was almost as fun as the actual event!
At Longwell Green, we enjoyed a drink and a quick sit down before heading off to the lanes. We started bowling and within ten minutes Cherie had established that she was the strike queen getting two strikes in her first two turns. Steve and Joe were in fierce competition; as the only two males there they felt they had something to prove!
February is drawing to a close and the nation is divided on the issue of health – while some people have tried and failed to lose weight in the New Year, others have given up their favourite treats for lent. New fads to improve health seem to emerge every week, but for carers, it can be difficult to keep up.
According to the latest census, carers providing regular, unpaid care for their loved ones are twice as likely to have poorer health compared to non-carers, and almost 700,000 carers reported their health as ‘not good’. A further 35% of carers looking after someone for 20 hours or more reported having a limiting longstanding illness.
While the rest of the nation struggle with their increasing waistlines, we have a service specifically to help carers with their health. Jane and Kath (our Community Activators) have been working for three years to help carers gain confidence and lose weight, and they are continuing to improve the health and wellbeing of carers through breaks, activities and one-to-one meetings for another six months.
Kath and Jane provide personalised help and advice on what exercise might suit you best and special nutritional tips to get you healthy and happy. Their advice has helped over 500 carers and we’re grateful for all the work they’ve done so far – we can’t wait to see how many more carers they will help in the next few months!
Kath and Jane’s next project is getting people on board and ready to take part in the Carers’ Centre’s sponsored walk on Sunday 5th June, to celebrate our 20th birthday. The walk, kicking off Carers’ Week 2016, aims to raise awareness of carers and the issues they face in our community as well as funds for the centre. Kath and Jane will be running weekly walking groups in the coming months to prepare our carers for our trek through the Two Tunnels, so if you fancy raising money for the Carers Centre, please join us!!
Feedback from our carers is essential for all the work we do here at the Carers Centre. If we didn’t speak to carers about what they like and don’t like about our services, we wouldn’t know the best way of shaping and creating services in the future. From phone calls with carers to giving out feedback forms during breaks, we listen to carers in everything we do.
A key way we get feedback about our services from carers is through our Annual Survey, which asks carers about their engagement with our service and if there’s anything they would change. Last year some carers wanted more regular contact with us, to gain a personal service. To address this, we’re reinstating our befriending service, which comes into force this month.
This shows our determination to include carer views in everything we do, and use their feedback to create better services for the future.
Our new project is no different.
At the Carers Centre, we currently have five support groups on offer, but we’re looking to expand this to help even more carers. We’re holding interviews in March to discuss what support groups carers want and how they should be organised. In the meantime, we’ve made an online questionnaire asking our carers for their views on support groups which can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GLP9WH7. If you’re a carer with something to say then I need your help!
If you’re a carer and would like more information or want to get involved in the project, please contact BANES Carers Centre on 01761 431388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole week since our last Arts Award meeting with our amazing Young Carers! This fortnightly art club takes place at Woodlands and allows Young Carers aged 5-11 to explore loads of different creative mediums, including photography, clay modelling and painting.
As usual, there was a whirlwind of noise and glitter with our young carers chatting away about their Christmas while drawing what presents they got in the holidays. Once again the kids had a good laugh at my drawing skills (which even I admit are non-existent) before we had a break, where the kids enjoyed a huge game of hangman.
Then we got started on our latest project – designing a calendar which will go on sale in 2017. The kids will spent all year perfecting 12 pictures, one for each month of the year. It was so cool to see the kids enthuse about what colours they could use and design the coolest looking ‘January trees’ I’ve ever seen. The best part of this project is that next Saturday we’re taking the kids on a trip to the forest to capture some pictures of trees in January, to practice their photography skills and get some cool pictures for the calendar.
Sometimes as adults it’s easy to forget how tiny things like a game of hangman with your friends, a walk through the forest or the chance to draw freely can be so great, and it’s always lovely to see Young Carers in particular having this much fun, especially given their tough home lives. Their resilience always amazes me and makes me want to work with them even more. Can’t wait for next week’s session!
News and views from Bath North East Somerset Carers Centre