Carers of Leicestershire Advocacy and Support Project (CLASP) is dedicated to supporting family carers who look after people with different needs across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
According to the NHS, unpaid carers who provide high levels of care for relatives and friends, are more than twice as likely to suffer from ill-health compared to people without caring responsibilities. Caring responsibilities can affect mental and physical health in various ways and 64% of carers feel their health is at risk due to a lack of practical support. 
CLASP launched their ‘Carers caring for Carers’ project recently after receiving funding from People’s Health Trust through its Active Community programme. The project support carers to come together to decide what they need to build social networks, and organise and attend activities that support their wellbeing.
The charity recently hosted a launch event that provided attendees with the opportunity to try a range of activities that can improve health and wellbeing including mindfulness, singing and laughing yoga.
Jo Burke, Project Coordinator said, “We are excited to launch this project which we feel is really needed in our local area. Many carers are so busy caring for others, they don’t have time to think about themselves and their own wellbeing. Carers regularly tell us of the strain that caring places on their health and wellbeing and of their difficulties in accessing activities. It’s really heartening to see the local carers enjoying the taster sessions and learning more about important things like Mindfulness, and the value of singing.
The event was an opportunity for attendees to mingle and meet with other people with similar experiences to them. There were also opportunities for carers to get more information on a range of issues including managing stress and disability support from other local organisations who had stalls and representatives there on the day.
Local charity Richmond Fellowship ran a workshop on Mindfulness, focusing on managing anxiety using techniques based around the senses, whilst another workshop, from Leicester Musical Memory Box focussed on the benefits of singing and breathing technique. A taster session of laughing yoga by local practitioner Nisha, resulted in a room full of laughter and everyone knowing each other’s name, building the beginnings of those all important social connections.
Kirsteen McVeigh, Carers Centre Manager said, “We’re delighted with the great turnout on the day, it’s really encouraging that lots of people have shown interest, and shows how needed the project is.”
Jo added, “It’s absolutely crucial that carers find time to look after themselves as well as the person they’re caring for. Carers suffer from worse health than other people, and through supporting carers to create fun and helpful activities, people are building social connections and can develop more control of their own health.”
The project has been funded by the Trust with money raised through Health Lottery East Midlands
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