Supporting carers of people with learning disabilities


Picture of Catherine talking on the phone


CATHERINE
PROJECT MANAGER

Hello, I’m Catherine

I’m running a new project for family carers of people with learning disabilities. The project is aimed at carers who are aged 50 years+ to help people plan for the future, have time for themselves, and meet others facing similar challenges.

Right now, I’m focusing on supporting carers who are in urgent need due to the coronavirus crisis including helping people stay connected by telephone and online. Please do e-mail me at Catherine.shatwell@reachuk.org if you’d like further information.

I am undertaking wellbeing calls each week to carers, which has identified some carers who need a higher level of support right now to help prevent social isolation and anxieties. As meeting on a one to one basis outside is now allowed I can meet carers for socially distanced walks which is particularly helpful for carers who are isolated.

Apart from wellbeing calls some examples of the type of support I am providing are:

  • Sourcing items that carers are struggling to obtain like gluten free flour
  • Supporting with direct payment accounts
  • Application for blue badges
  • PIP assessments
  • Disability related expenditure queries and working with other agencies
  • Liaising with Critical Care Outreach teams and Social Workers
  • Sharing information relevant to carers using our private Facebook group
  • Support with issues such as Council Tax
  • Care and Support Assessments
  • General concerns raised by carers
  • Accommodation concerns
Picture of Peter with his arm around his daughter Sarah

"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."

- Peter

There are more than 15,000 people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire, a number expected to rise. Many of them live at home and are looked after by carers who are often in their 70s or 80s. Some who are in their 50s and 60s are having to juggle their caring responsibilities around their work. Perhaps the single biggest problem for older carers is loneliness, with 68 per cent of adult carers in Nottinghamshire identifying lack of social contact as a major issue. Reach plans to help carers form social networks, with informal drop-in sessions and  subsidised massage and reflexology sessions. One-to-one support will be available for those who need it. 


Thanks to a grant from Nottinghamshire Freemasons we are now in a position to move forward with our 'Carers Matter' project.


The grant from Nottinghamshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.


“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.