Each Friday from 11am to 1pm and in partnership with Gaddum, a charity organsiation specialising in Advocacy, Carers and Therapy services, the Salford Care Organisation’s Carers Support Group takes place at the Ellesmere Centre.
The group supports anyone who finds themselves in the role of carer for a family member or friend and is need of some help, advice or simply a place to go to get away from things and speak to like minded people.
Led by Community Assessment Officer, Stacy McKeown, Social Worker, Louise Boydell and Community Development Worker, Amy Morris-Hallsworth, with the help of Steve and the team at Gaddum, the group is able to not only able to provide peer support but can also signpost people to help in the community.
Stacey explains why it’s so important for carers to have a place they can go,
“We often see people come to us for the first time feeling low and like they are all alone in the world.
Being a carer can be very isolating for some people, it’s difficult to have a normal social life and it isn’t common to know a lot of others in the same position.
After someone has been to see us, shared their story, heard the stories of others, and now understands there is support available, you can see the difference in them. They leave us feeling almost lighter with relief.”
One such carer that recently attended a session arrived in a low mood and didn’t know where to go to get some help. They had been a carer for their parent and have lived with them their entire life. They were desperate for a connection outside of their home.
After realising they had a family member at the same school as social worker Stacey’s children, they were instantly more comfortable sharing their concerns. They reported back at the end of the session that they were so glad they had attended and felt an incredible sense of relief to have finally found a place to connect with others and to meet people who understood their experience.
Stacy said, “Our group is about connecting people, sharing knowledge and providing a safe place for carers to talk to others who understand what they go through each and every day.
I know the focus is on the people we help, but they help me too. I find them all so inspiring and get a lot out of seeing someone find a meaningful connection or discover a resource that makes a difference to their lives. In fact, they’ve inspired me to pursue further education in social work.
One recent carer was so happy to have found a place he could open up and share his problems you could physically see his face and personality change. He’s even started dating again!”
“This is a place where are carers can have ‘you time’, meaning time specifically for our carers to get the support they need in a safe space,” says Amy.
“We always end up having a laugh at our groups, that’s the key and what makes people what to come back again and again.”
Louise adds, “We are always looking for ways to improve or to provide a better offering for our carers. In fact, we are open to the group being shaped by the carers in terms of what they would like to see in their local community or feel would best support them.
So, anyone is free to bring their ideas or suggestions or just turn up to listen and feel supported, whatever works for that person.”
The carers group welcomes anyone in an informal caring role, or anyone who wants more information about being a carer or having a loved one in care. To contact the group via phone or text dial 07541693359.
The group is located at the Ellsmere Centre, ground floor entrance opposite Walkden Gateway, next to the charity shop and takes place every Friday from 11-1pm.