Week to remember carers who do vital work without recognition

Win Cameron, right, with friends raising funds and awareness of the Honiton Carers Support Group

Win Cameron, right, with friends raising funds and awareness of the Honiton Carers Support Group - Credit: Honiton Carers

June 7 to 14 is Carers Week. Honiton Carers Support Group was established in 2014 when Devon Carers who had previously co-ordinated it for years found that due to lack of funding they could no longer support the group and that in order to continue, we needed to become self-funding. 
There was a severe danger of the group folding and as a result I found myself offering to temporarily take over as co-ordinator/key holder until someone else came forward. I am still here 7 years later, running an even stronger group which includes unpaid carers and ex-carers who often become volunteers and strong mentors for the new carers.
I feel passionate about running the group and keeping us all together. Covid has been a huge challenge for carers and the recently bereaved, however with weekly phone calls,  Zoom sessions and outdoor meetings when allowed we have manage to stay strong and resilient together and we very much look forward to hopefully return to meetings indoors again from 14th July.
During Carers Awareness Week we try more than ever to reach out to the hard to reach carers and to the people who care for family and friends who do not consider themselves carers and therefore do not come forward to receive the support and help they are entitled to. 
Honiton Carers are happy to be part of both Honiton Health Matters and Parental Minds whose membership is constantly growing. We work closely together to the benefit of the people we support both individually and together. 
My personal caring journey commenced back in 2003 when my late husband had his first stroke, followed by a second severe stroke, which left him totally wheelchair bound. I thankfully managed to care for him at home and also cared for my late mother who had Vascular Dementia for a couple of years at the same time. As a carer you are often the cared for voice as they cannot speak for themselves, and at times it is very, very hard to be heard. Carers are often exhausted from caring, receive little recognition and at times do not know where to turn for help. I regularly found I was being totally ignored when my husbands care was being discussed. I find my own living experience together with the support and training I receive from Devon Carers as Care Ambassadors gives me knowledge and strength to help other carers find their way around the maze of support available to them. Carers tell us again and again that they are not signposted after diagnoses, not offered continued support and just do not know who to turn to in a crisis.  Honiton Carers Support Group offer continued support and training to unpaid carers to enable them to maintain their resilience, strength and good mental health to continue caring and avoid carers burn out.
For more details about Honiton Carers Support please contact Winnie Cameron winniekjaer@btinternet.com or phone 07974 636926
Honiton Carers Support are a member of the Mental Health Network facilitated by Parental Minds CIC. https://www.facebook.com/MentalHealthNetworkHoniton

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