Every day in the UK 6,000 people become carers of loved ones and it’s not always planned.
Each year Carers Rights Day is held to raise awareness around the role of a carer but also shedding light on the support made accessible for carers.
North Staffs Carers Association, a Fenton based charity, have offered free support and guidance services for unpaid carers from the age of eight and up, for over 30 years.
“Carers do a fantastic job,” Helen Farmer, Carers Centre Manager, said, “they’re in that job 24/7, so it’s important they get as much support as possible to assist them in that.
“Carers doing their job save the nation billions of pounds so it’s vital that they receive the right support”.
The Carers Centre offers a range of activities, events and workshops geared around supporting carers. Sessions allow many carers to come together, socialise, feel a part of something and receive support.
“We also offer some more specialised support groups. ‘Amazing Memories’ for Dementia is one of those, we offer a Parkinson’s support group, a brain tumour support group, a Fibromyalgia support group and that’s all listening around what carers want”.
There are also a range of therapy sessions on offer such as Aromatherapy, Relaxation and Reflexology. For carers having time out from their role, it can be vital therefore that all therapy sessions are free.
“We have a support worker who works with carers when they come into the centre. They don’t have to book an appointment because, as you can imagine, sometimes carers come in quite stressed or anxious.”
Two teams of supporters work within North Staffs Carers. An adult team, that work with mature carers around North Staffordshire, and a young careers team, named ‘The Musketeers’. ‘The Musketeers’ work closely with schools, colleges and young people from ages eight to 18.
“Many young carers feel lonely and isolated in their role. It’s important they get the right support and that support is in place for them. [Allowing them to] really enjoy still being a young person and feel supported and they’re not alone.”
A young carers forum has also been created to allow a monthly discussion of issues concerning their roles, allowing young carers to have a voice and feel that they are listened too.
The adult team works instead by visiting carers in their homes. They discuss with them how they are managing, what time off they have and what family support is involved. Those fulfilling the role of a carer can often feel isolated and alone, so it is important their needs are met. The adult team also work closely with social care and legal advisers to get carers the support they need and deserve.
Because not everybody can get into the Carers Centre, North Staffs offer a telephone befriending service – a service run by volunteers who telephone a carer once or twice a week to talk and check up on them.
“It’s really somebody touching base with them, how are they feeling? How’s their day going? For many carers it’s really an opportunity, a window to the outside world”, said Ms Farmer. “For many carers because of their role, they can’t get out as much as they’d like to, to socialize and mix with people. It’s a way of carers feeling connected.”
There’s nothing more difficult than focusing on someone else’s needs without neglecting your own. Being a carer can be exhausting whether it’s a full-time role or balanced with family and work life.
“It’s vital that carers have access to the right and up to date information and also know their rights regarding their caring role. We offer over 500 different leaflets about different types of support.”
North Staffs Carers Association are always looking for money to bring money into the charity; from hosting charity balls, that raise up to £18,000, to Dementia awareness walks around Tunstall park. All money raised is used to fund the services provided for un-paid carers.
To find out about their full services or how to get involved visit: https://www.carersfirst.com/