Time out for carers

07 March 2019

“Carers4Carers has created links between members and volunteers to the point where relationships are taking shape beyond everyone's expectations” - Volunteer Massage Therapist and Carer.

The project Inspirational Us, run by Carers4Carers, provides a friendly space and complementary therapies for carers living in the London Borough of Lambeth.

Project members are supported to lead weekly activities and sessions, whilst meeting new people and making time to unwind. Paula Bryan, co-founder of Carers4Carers, said: “The project is important as carers spend so much of their time prioritising the time of others and ignoring their own needs. This can lead to a deterioration in their physical and emotional health, as well as them feeling lonely and isolated.”

The project offers weekly drop in sessions which work around the members’ time and caring responsibilities. “In addition to complementary therapies such as Indian Head Massage, sound therapy and reiki, carers have led on a range of other classes. Activities range from yoga, boxing and aerobics to art and knitting lessons. Not only do the sessions encourage members to learn new skills, they also allow them to utilise and share forgotten skills”, said Paula.

Through the project, members have experienced an increase in confidence and a greater inclusion within their local community. Paulina, a project member, said: "Carers4Carers is a lifeline for me as I care for two people in my family. It's a place to come and relax, meet other carers, share activities, have fun and laugh together".

People’s Health Trust has invested in the project since 2016. During this time, the number of both volunteers and members has doubled through regular referrals. Project members have also been introduced to new activities from partnerships with local organisations and individuals.

Paula said: “Our partnership with Morley College has been mutually beneficial for the students training in complementary therapies and the carers receiving them.

We also partnered with an organisation to deliver a five-week mindfulness course, which was regularly attended by 15 carers. Due to its success, we are currently running another mindfulness course.”

The partnerships provide new opportunities, not just for the carers, but for the wider community too. Will, a volunteer squash coach said: “It’s inspiring for me to meet great people in my local community who are approaching life's challenges in the most positive and collaborative way. It's beneficial for my own health and wellbeing to feel like I'm making a difference to their lives, and being able to combine this with my own love for squash is the icing on the cake!”

Carers4Carers also organises regular trips for carers and their families. In the past year, the project has arranged visits across London including to Kew Gardens, Mordon Hall and The Young Vic Theatre.

 

The Inspirational Us project is funded by the Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery in London East.

To read more news from the Trust, click here.

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