The 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.
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!
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!
Last Sunday, the BathHalf celebrated its 35th year, with an astounding 13,000 people running to raise money for good causes or beat their personal best. The runners had perfect weather for Bath’s biggest annual event; the 13.1 mile course around the beautiful streets of this gorgeous city.
Last year the Half raised over £2.1million for charity, and this year we were honoured to be one of the organisations people could raise money for. This year, nine locations around the track were chosen to be ‘Battle of the Bands’ bases, and we were lucky enough to be chosen to host the ‘Edsel Furys’, a 60s garage and surf-style rock ‘n’ roll band whose infectious sound had runners smiling as they went past.
Our Deputy CEO and former BathHalf runner David said that when he ran, the Lower Bristol Road was a quiet and almost dispiriting part of the track. Thankfully we were able to change that this year, and with the ‘Edsel Furys’ in tow, we made sure the Carers’ Centre was a hub of noise and positivity for every runner involved! With signs, sweets and Carers’ Centre t-shirts, we made as much noise as we could for all the runners as they went past. We’re so grateful to every runner who took part – you are all so incredible and we thank you so much for your amazing dedication!
We want to say a special thank you to Taryn, Emma, Phil, Chris, Dan, Rich, Pete, and Norman, who ran to raise money for our centre. You’re all brilliant and we can’t wait to find out how much money you raised for carers in BANES!
The date for 2017’s BathHalf has already been set as the 12th of March – if you’ve been inspired by this year’s runners and want to take part next year, why not run and raise money for the Carers’ Centre? We’d love to see you there! Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org / 01761 431388 or @carerscentre1 to join our 2017 team.
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 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!
Our carers were dancing on blades of glory as we took eight families to ‘Bath on Ice’; the temporary ice rink in Victoria Park this weekend.
Every carer had a different response to their first foray onto the ice. Some kids couldn’t wait to get going while others looked terrified – luckily many of them had penguins to help their balance. Meanwhile the anxious adults seemed to doubt their decision to skate, with one father looking at me as if to say “What have I let myself in for – and why have I agreed to an hour of it?!”
As we expected, there were lots of tumbles, with every carer falling over at least once. Luckily the stewards at Bath on Ice were quick to help and before long they were on their feet again. Many got up enough confidence to brave it alone and a few even managed some fancy footwork, which was great fun to watch!
When finished, our carers were delighted to go from ice back to solid ground. The children asked to go again while parents nursed newly-made bruises! However, everyone seemed to have a great time, and there were smiles all round. In our feedback forms, all families said they’d had a great time and the only downside of the trip was falling over so much!
Trips like these take a lot of planning but it’s all worth it to see families having fun and I can’t wait for our next Family Time adventure!
News and views from Bath North East Somerset Carers Centre