Today I went to a fantastic Christmas party, run by the Wickham Market and District Family Carers Support Group.
We had a lovely time at the party, but then, we generally do. Coming along to the group gives a little relief from a hard relentless job for so many, particularly those supporting a loved one with a degenerative degenerative disease. “I live for these meetings,” a member told me today. She cares for a longterm partner with Alzheimers – and coming to this group gives her a chance, not only to put her cares to one side for an hour or two, but to do so in the company of people who know exactly how longterm and dispiriting these cares can be.
I’ve been attending since the group started in April – not as a County Councillor (although SCC provides some of the funding), but as a family carer in my own right. Since it started up it has been a wonderful source of support, and invaluable information to help each of us members in our caring role – and, quite as importantly – a little respite from it .
As you will know from other blog entries of mine, I am very concerned about the uk’s scanty and uninterested notions of how to treat the nation’s 6.4million family carers. People who do so much in such isolation and with such little help. Fortunately we live in the very part of Suffolk where people have recognised quite how isolated family carers of all ages and backgrounds can be – and which has set up a group to cater for a diverse range of carers over a wide geographic area.
Don’t take my word for it – if you are a carer, come along to the group one Wednesday morning and find out for yourself.
Which brings me to another of the Wickham Market objectives: to train and set up a pool of local, trained, accredited and insured carers to respond to the present and future needs of the local community, which will improve employment opportunities for local people as well as helping out group members in an emergency.
And today I heard good news from Pam Bell, the originator and moving spirit behind Wickham Market Family Carers Support: Suffolk will benefit from over £200,000 of lottery funding, to create other groups set up on the Wickham Market model. Congratulations Pam!