I think it’s safe to say that this year’s Carers Week was another resounding success with Carers able to experience new things, visit new places and meet new friends and acquaintances.
The Wellbeing Day proved to be very popular again, with a record 67 carers attending. It was our first year at Left Bank and many Carers commented on what a great venue it was and ‘please can we come here again next year’. We were very lucky to have a great variety of therapists who worked tirelessly throughout the day, making it a great success. There were back, foot and hand massages, Reiki and Acupuncture, finishing with a mini makeover and manicure. Here are some comments from carers who attended.
‘I have never tried most of the therapies before. It has certainly been a good opportunity to benefit from these treatments, many thanks’;
‘A wonderful relaxing day feeling pampered and learning about myself. Meeting interesting people some facing more daunting challenges than myself -puts things in perspective’
‘Lovely atmosphere and very friendly’;
A special Thank You to Carers Trust and Bluebird Care for helping to fund the day.
The ‘Spy Mission’ Trail took carers round some of the parts of Hereford as yet unexplored by some of us. We followed the trail, located various landmarks, solved the clues and finally had to ‘crack’ the mystery code! The walk lasted about 2 hours and ended with a much anticipated ‘bring and share’ picnic at Maggie’s House.
Doing the walk in small groups gave us all a lovely opportunity to practise our team work and problem solving skills, as well as get some healthy exercise!
Thank you everyone who came along for the lovely company and choice of food, to Maggie and Bill for allowing us the use of their conservatory for our picnic and to Amanda from Treasure Trails Hereford & Worcester for the bespoke Carers Trail; as usual she did a grand job.
The carers who visited The Cart Shed, a community interest company in North Herefordshire, enjoyed a tour in beautiful countryside with an informative talk discovering how the outdoors and the use of rural skills can be therapeutic and lead to improvements in confidence, fulfillment and a sense of wellbeing. After a delicious lunch made from fresh produce grown on site and cooked on an outdoor fire amidst the peaceful countryside the Carers left with pots of seedlings to nurture back at home.
On Thursday, a group of Carers visited the Courtyard Theatre in Hereford and watched the film ‘A Royal Night Out’, based on the antics of the Queen and Princess Margaret on the night of Victory in Europe day. We all enjoyed the hilarious exploits of the two young sisters, who were allowed out on that very rare occasion to join in the festivities! I’m sure that most of us would say we will never look at the Queen in quite the same way again!
The staff at the Courtyard looked after us really well, laying on tea, coffee and delicious home-made shortbread biscuits, straight from the oven. Carers then had the opportunity to have their photos taken in a specially laid on photo booth where they indulged in a bit of frivolous dressing up.
All-in-all a very relaxing and fun-filled day. Thank you to Katrin and the staff at the Courtyard for your kind hospitality.
Carers visiting the Laskett Gardens at Much Birch enjoyed the tranquil calm setting in beautiful sunshine. The gardener was on hand to offer advice and answer carer’s questions and refreshments were supplied by the garden owner, Sir Roy Strong who also chatted to us and shared a slice of cake. A special thank you to Sir Roy Strong who is always a great supporter of carer’s, having already donated £12,000 proceeds from his garden open days to The Carers Trust in 2014.
Carers Week also gave us the opportunity to raise awareness of what being a carer means and the type of support on offer from Herefordshire Carers Support with stands at the Old Market, Hereford and Sainsburys, Hereford whilst The Marches Surgery Leominster, winner of the 2014 Herefordshire Carer Support GP Practice Award held an interesting and informative morning celebrating the value of supporting Carers.
Fay Ladd, Carers Lead at the Marches Practice co-ordinated the event linking with the Carers Leads from Westfields Surgery and Mortimer Medical Practice. Carers from all three practices were invited to attend to listen to representatives from Carers Services in Herefordshire and ask questions.
Hilary Lewis, GP Link Worker and Helen Whitmore, Family Support Worker with Herefordshire Carers Support were accompanied by two family Carers who spoke about their experiences and stressed the importance of good collaboration with primary care services to help them to maintain their caring role. Other contributors were from C.A.B, St. Michael Hospice, Age UK and Courtyard Creative Ageing. The morning ended with an uplifting speech from guest speaker Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, who is also Patron of HCS, who emphasised the importance of Carers asking for the support they are entitled to!
Our Young Carers had some great events during Carers Week, aimed at bringing Young Carers from across the county together and celebrating the amazing job they do every day.
We began with a Photo booth and Drama event at the Courtyard Theatre where our excited youngsters were able to pick a prop from the very well stocked supply and strike a pose in the photo booth. This resulted in a brilliant collection of colourful and crazy photos for our group to enjoy and share with family and friends. Next they enjoyed a selection of fun drama games and activities, which created a lot of laughter. Huge thanks to Joe Lewis and Dan Pegler from the Courtyard for all their hard work, energy and enthusiasm which made this such a fantastic experience for our group.
We may be a landlocked county but we managed to bring all the fun of the seaside to Hereford for our second event; a Summer Party, which was an idea put forward by our Young Carer Forum. There were chips to be eaten, the biggest ice creams I’ve ever seen and a fantastic disco complete with snow and bubble machines. Our young people danced the night away, played some hilarious games, made new friends and went home smiling. What a great way to end Carers Week!