National Carers Week
This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.
The campaign recognises and celebrates the contribution made by unpaid carers to the people they care for. In South Gloucestershire, there are around 20 carer groups directly supported by the council offering a place to meet others in a similar situation and have a break from the day-to-day responsibilities of caring. There are general support groups in Downend, Hanham, Patchway, Emersons Green, Staple Hill, Kingswood, Frampton Cotterell, Thornbury and Yate. And there are also specific groups for dementia, learning difficulties and mental health.
Cllr Matthew Riddle, Chair of Adults and Housing Committee, said: “South Gloucestershire Council is committed to supporting all its valued carers so that they can stay emotionally and physically well and balance their caring role with their work commitments, family life and community interests.
“Each carer has a different story. Many have huge responsibilities and are juggling different roles whilst caring for a loved one, friend or neighbour, making it very difficult to snatch a little bit of time for themselves. So if you look after someone else and you would like to join one of our support groups, please get in touch.”
For more details about the carers groups contact the Carersline on 0117 965 2200.Case study
Veronica and Malcolm James live in Mangotsfield. Veronica is a full-time carer for Malcolm who had a stroke in 2005. Both have a background in education with Veronica previously employed as a teaching assistant at nearby Barley Close Primary School and Malcolm dealt with student loans in South Gloucestershire Council and was also vice chair of governors at Mangotsfield School.
The stroke left Malcolm needing care around the clock and Veronica fulfils this role as well as being a caring wife.
With the help of the council, Veronica has joined a support group for carers in Emersons Green who meet up to share experiences and find out about any further help and support which is available. The support groups run across the district and are funded by the council.
Veronica said: “I attend the carers group in Emersons Green and I also go with Malcolm to the stroke cafe in Downend, both are funded by the council. It’s the social side of things which we both benefit from because meeting up with people in a similar situation and having a chat makes you feel that you’re not alone; that you’re not isolated. As well as the social side at the stroke cafe, you get to find out about other things that are happening in South Gloucestershire. I didn’t know there was so much support out there. We have been going for three years and at the last one we had a talk about accessible holidays. We also use the services of Kingswood Community Transport to attend hospital appointments and go on trips.”
As well as the support group, Veronica also attends another council-funded group called Time 4 Carers and she was looking forward to their next get-together – an afternoon cream tea.
“It’s good to for me to get out and about independently too sometimes,” she added. “Malcolm has a sitter when I’m out at the carers meetings, which gives me a bit of a break too. Through my own experiences, I have also been able to help other carers. I was talking to a man the other day about going on holiday with a wheelchair on the train. How we use the Train Assistance phone line to book tickets and arrange help with travel at both ends of the journey. This service is a great help to take the stress out of travelling.”
And her advice to other people in a caring role is to ‘investigate your options as much as you can. There is much support available from the council and other organisations so there is no need to feel you are alone’.
The couple also attended the council’s Celebrating Carers event earlier this year and said it was a wonderful experience. The one-day event held at UWE showcased all the help and support available to people who give up their time to look after others. A film of the event is available on our website at www.southglos.gov.uk/carers
In sickness and in health is this year’s Carers Week theme. More information about the national campaign is available at http://carersweek.org/
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