Tag Archives: service

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!

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

_MG_3446 elderly female carer holding hand of husband_smlLoneliness is a growing problem in the UK, with more and more elderly people facing daily isolation. AgeUK reports that more than 2 million people aged over-75 live alone and over 1 million elderly people go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. For carers, this isolation can be even worse – the Carers’ Trust say that 83% of carers feel lonely or isolated because of their caring role. The survey also found that 55% of carers felt that they were unable to get out of the house because of their caring responsibilities, while 45% can’t afford to take part in social activities.

Caring for someone day in, day out can be exhausting and emotionally draining. With few support networks for carers around and a lack of people who can empathise, carers often feel they can’t speak to anyone about their problems. We at the Carers’ Centre want to help. That’s why we’re launching our new telephone befriending programme, which should be in full swing by the end of the month.

The telephone befriending service will enable volunteers to speak to carers on the phone every few weeks to see how they’re doing. Andy Graham, our volunteering co-ordinator and lead on the project, has been training our volunteers in telephone befriending. They will start this work in the coming weeks, to the delight of many carers. “Befriending has been shown to be a very helpful, very simple solution to ongoing isolation and loneliness”, Andy says. Many of the befrienders are carers themselves, which we’re hoping will bring a more personal touch to the service. We can’t wait for this project underway and see how many carers we can help.

If you’d like to be a volunteer befriender and help a carer in need, please call the Carers’ Centre on 01761 431388.

My Young Carer Story

MeeeeeeeeeLast Thursday was National Young Carers Awareness Day, which aimed to raise awareness of our amazing YCs and the unseen work they do every day. Last week we highlighted Joe Lomax, one of our fab YCs. This week, our blog takes a more personal tone, because I want to tell you my story.

My brother is funny and has the biggest smile of anyone I know. He is also severely autistic and has very limited communication skills. When I was younger, this was really hard for me, as I didn’t understand his disability or why he acts the way he does. Additionally, no one at school was in my situation, so I often felt lonely, and like I couldn’t relate to anyone.

Luckily, an amazing Young Carers service really helped me out. I was referred there by a social worker who felt I needed to be with children in a similar situation to myself. She was absolutely right, and that group helped me get out of the house and meet other children in tough circumstances.

I’ve worked at the CC for about seven months and I love my role. I run the YC Twitter account, organise this blog, and I’m currently researching support groups. However, my favourite thing about working here is helping kids with difficult home lives, just like I had at that age. Even simple things like taking them to the cinema or running an art club gives them the chance to relax and have fun. It’s always so great to put a smile on their faces and help a charity like the one that kept me going when I was their age.

All dressed up and somewhere to go

Today’s post was written by one of our carers, Fiona Carr, who cares for her husband John.

Fiona and John at our latest Annual Awards ceremony
Fiona and John at our latest Annual Awards ceremony

‘Would you and John like to represent the Carers’ Centre at an Award Ceremony in London next week as a guest of the BANES Care Commissioning Group?’ Janine asked me.  I immediately replied that of course I would, as I am always happy to promote the work of the Carers’ Centre.  It was only when Janine emailed me details of the event that I realised that it was a Black Tie event to be held at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.  The event I learnt was going to be hosted by the Health Service Journal.  I frantically tried on my evening gown and John his dinner jacket to check that they still fitted.  Well, it has been quite a while since we had last wore them.

Then the doubts started.  My husband John is disabled following a massive stroke.  How are we going to cope at such an event with over 800 people attending?  How are we going to get around London?  Will people understand John who now has difficulty speaking?  But as the Japanese proverb says, fear is only as deep as the mind allows, so off to London we went.

Not only did we manage, we had the time of our lives.  Getting around London was easily solved by using taxis.  When we arrived at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Clive the Head of Security took us under his wings.  Throughout the night he went out of his way to make sure we were OK.  When we joined the ladies from the BANES Care Commissioning Group we were greeted like long lost friends.

Unfortunately we did not win an award but it was wonderful to hear about all the work that has been going on throughout the country to support Carers. The Health Service Journal had set up a Twitter page for the event, so I enjoyed using my recently acquired Twitter skills (learnt by attending a course at the Carers’ Centre) to tweet my appreciation to them.

Fiona