Tag Archives: parent

Sophie’s Story: ‘I believed I was a bad parent’

Sophie shares her experience as a parent carer.

“I’ve been on my own with my son since day one. I always found him hard work, right from the beginning. I thought it was because I was a rubbish parent and just not really cut out for it.

“When Kenzo was five his behaviour really deteriorated. He became verbally and physically abusive. Every single day he was hitting, kicking, spitting, biting, shouting, and screaming under tables at the adults at school.

“This lead to a couple of years of a really terrible time at the school. Weekly meetings; constant exclusions; visits from educational psychologists. The headmaster – along with multiple other professionals – told me I was a bad parent and I’d spoilt him, that it was all my fault.

I believed them – they were people who supposedly
knew what they were talking about.”

This, along with a very stressful full-time job with its own problems, and the anxiety and depression Sophie has dealt with since her teens, lead to what she now considers a breakdown.

“I couldn’t cope. I reached that point where – and I’m saying this as a proud person – I was just asking everyone and anyone for help.  And once I took that step it was like the floodgates opened. Once I had
made that change from being private and proud and ‘coping’, to realising that I just wasn’t, I recognised that it’s more important to get help than keep struggling on.”

Continue reading Sophie’s Story: ‘I believed I was a bad parent’

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!

‘January Trees’ – Our latest Arts Award evening

art-therapy-career2It’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!

Young Carer takes time out for herself: Leeanne Roberts

Young Carer Leeanne with her dad Ray

Young carer Leeanne Roberts has been looking after her Dad, Ray, since he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Leeanne, with her mum and brother, care for Ray as a family. Through the Time for Change programme, which aims to help young adult carers to improve their health and wellbeing, Leeanne has been working with the Carers’ Centre Community Activators. “I feel like my health has improved since I started working with Jane [Harvey, Community Activator]. I have been walking a lot more and am just more active.”

The Community Activators programme looks at ways to improve carers’ health and wellbeing, offering health checks and advice about how to balance caring with an independent life. “Jane went through ways that I could improve my fitness, she got me involved with Passport to Health which allows me to go to the gym and exercise. I am feeling healthier and better about myself, my confidence is getting a bit better too. The best thing for me is it gets me out of the house, and I have someone to talk to about the things that I’m worried about.”

Leeanne is also making use of the breaks offered by the Centre: “My mum and I have put our names down to go on a relaxation break to the Thermae Spa to have a bit of a break. I think we both need it!”

Leeanne is one of the amazing Young Carers supported by the Carer’s Centre in BANES. To find out what our Young Carers get up to, follow @YoungCarersBNES on Twitter.