Supporting carers of people with learning disabilities
Hello, I’m Catherine
Carers Matter is a three-year project to support family carers of people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire. Many of our family carers tell us they feel isolated and exhausted looking after their family member who is struggling to cope with the current situation.
A major grant from Nottinghamshire Freemasons has enabled us to plan this major project for carers who are aged 50 years+. I will be supporting carers to plan for the future, have time for themselves, and meet others facing similar challenges. This couldn't have come at a better time. To find out more about the struggles that carers are facing during the pandemic and how we are supporting them, please watch Claire and James's story.
Right now, there is a very urgent need to address the risk of family carers’ deteriorating mental and physical wellbeing.
Through the project we’re now supporting more than 120 family carers through phone calls, socially distant walks, meeting up online and sharing information through a private Facebook group. At the time of writing Liz has been enjoying meeting up in small, socially distant groups for a coffee and a catch up.
Some examples of the type of queries we can help with:
- Support liasing with other agencies
- Helping people to find out more about their benefits entitlements and other sources of support
- Help to problem solve
- Support to think about the future
I can help with arrangements to create time and space for you to connect with other carers, be somebody to talk to if you’re feeling worried and much more. If you or anyone you know is caring for somebody with a learning disability, please do reach out to me any time, because our carers really do matter.
As lockdown progressed, carers were telling us they felt excluded from the ‘online society’ that was springing up; that they didn’t know how to use platforms like Zoom so were missing out on vital social opportunities. This was due to lack of knowledge, lack of equipment, internet problems and lack of confidence. For many, speaking to others online felt alien and strange, but activities like our 'Virtual Afternoon Tea' funded by Persimmon Community Champions helped to put people at ease and made chatting with others in this way feel more natural.
“A surprise packet delivered on my doorstep. A cream tea with a difference. Clotted cream, strawberries, delicious looking scone, strawberry jam, classic biscuits, pot pourri, tea bags, honey spoon, coaster, hand gel (very thoughtful), a note pad for a quiz when we Zoom later today and a packet of seeds. All this from Reach Learning Disability…what a thoughtful and wonderful gesture. It’s to thank carers for doing their bit. We are all carers…we should all be caring for one another. Thank you Reach for going the extra mile.”
Hi I’m Liz
Thanks to additional funding from a charitable trust, I was glad to be able to work with Catherine on our Carers Matter project up to the end of December, helping to organise online and face to face activities to help carers stay connected with each other.
One aspect I enjoyed the most was delivering the packs for our Zoom afternoon teas and in the warmer months our socially distanced garden catch ups. It was nice to meet with old friends and new people during my deliveries and I love the fact that we are making a difference. I'm sure there will be plenty more opportunities for people to meet up online at our virtual afternoon teas in the coming weeks and months.
"As Sarah’s dad I don’t always think of myself as a carer. You’re just doing the best you can for your son or daughter from day to day. But getting the right support makes all the difference. Even faced with all the challenges at the moment, you don’t have to be alone. It’s wonderful that Nottinghamshire Freemasons have given Reach a grant to support older carers. This project will help bring people together in new ways and that’s needed more than ever now."
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Reach who do truly outstanding work across the county, supporting people with learning disabilities and those who care for them. These carers are older people who often lead very lonely lives, devoted to looking after a family member and Reach is there for them.”
- Philip Marshall, Head of Nottinghamshire Freemasons.