Somerset Carers Newsletter

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Somerset Carers Newsletter

Issue Two Spring / Summer 2019

Carers Week 2019

Panorama: Crisis in Care

The Panorama ‘Crisis in Care’ films were broadcast at 9pm on BBC 1 on Wednesday 29 May and 5 June, and is available on the BBC iPlayer for another 11 months. The film crew spent ten months filming Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care teams, shining a light on the incredible work going on in care and the pressures the system faces as growing demand outstrips funding. They document incredible stories of families and unpaid carers looking after loved ones, and the difficult decisions that come with the growing demand for care from an ageing population at a time of limited funding. At Somerset Carers we are incredibly proud to be an integral part of the county-wide support for unpaid Carers, a service funded by Somerset County Council. Our network of Carers, Village and Community Agents work together to support individuals not only in crisis but who need regular 1:1 support, taking a holistic approach to the needs of the carer and everyone affected. Keeley Rudd, CEO for CCS, (the Community Council for Somerset) who run Somerset Carers said: “Carers are incredible people who are unpaid and often work incredibly long hours without thought for their own health and without whom the toll on governmental resources would be immeasurably increased. We believe there are over 60,000 unpaid Carers in Somerset”. She continued “It is our mission to support people who may feel lonely and isolated in their caring role, from helping them toapply for funding they may be entitled to, get access to mobility equipment they may need, or simply providing a listening and understanding ear with our Carers Agents or Talk and Support team. If you need one to one support in your caring role, please contact us at Somerset Carers.” Cllr David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council said: “Thank you to our many carers across Somerset for all the tremendous work they do in supporting friends, families and their communities. We wanted to get involved in filming Panorama as it helps us bring to light the national issue of the enormous pressures our social care system is under on a daily basis. These pressures will only deepen as time goes on - our funding continues to decrease whilst our population ages, living longer but with more complex needs. It’s no surprise that some of the cases Panorama show are challenging. Together, we work extremely hard across Somerset to do the very best for those we support, with the aim of improving health and wellbeing for everyone. If you are a carer and need help, information or support, please get in touch with the Somerset Carers service, our contact centre Somerset Direct or visit one of our Talking Cafes held in locations across Somerset.”

Focus on:

Burnham-on-Sea Carers Group

Lauren Giddins Carers Agent

Our Carers Agent Lauren asked the people of the Burnham on Sea Carers Group why the group is so important to them. Here’s what they had to say. Kathy and Brian

Kathy cares for her husband Brian who also attends the group. Kathy said “It is so helpful to know that I can bring Brian along to the group. So many groups I attended before he was unwell didn’t allow me to bring Brian along with me and so I stopped going. But I can bring Brian here and it’s such a relief to know he is safe. Plus he enjoys chatting to you all and we both feel we have had some interaction. It really helps me as a carer to know that we can attend group together. We have made some great friends here.”


David has attended the group for 9 years and is a past carer. David said “I attend this group so that I can keep up to date with information. Then if any of my friends find themselves in the same situation as I was, caring for a friend, then I can pass on that information. I live alone and so coming to group gives me a chance to have a chat. I’m 88 years old now and I’m lucky to be so fit and able but I need to keep it up – I plan to live until 105! This Carers group helps keep me active.”


Joan has been attending the group since 2005 and is a past carer. Joan said “This group is good because we all look out for each other and it’s really nice to keep in touch. If someone is missing one month then we know to give them a ring to check if they are OK. It’s good for finding out information, if someone needs to know something then we find out and tell them in the next meeting, or we give them a ring. We get to know everybody so well, and even though people don’t always attend each month they are always welcome.”

Alison spoke to the group about the raffle and what the money raised goes

towards “We do a raffle each month, it’s 50p a ticket and the money raised goes back into the group to run events such as the Christmas meal and a cream tea in the summer. Events like these give our Carers something to look forward to and a chance to get out with friends. We also promote other community groups such as the U3A and British Legion to try and encourage Carers out into the community to prevent them from becoming isolated. We are all here to support carers at anytime.”

Case Study: Life after Caring

Lauren Giddins Carers Agent

What happens when the person you care for passes away? How do you

manage not only the grief at loosing that person, but also the changes in your life as you are no longer a Carer? Carers Agent Lauren shares how she helped a person in that situation.

The Situation Financial

The client had been caring for their spouse who passed away. All benefits had stopped leaving client financially struggling. This meant the client was using their heating less than they should. The lady was also very confused about the necessary processes following a death.

Social Due to the loss of her partner, the person was feeling isolated and wanted to engage with local activities. At Home

She was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that needed doing in the house and garden/vegetable patch.

The Solution

I felt this person needed emotional as well as practical support. Just having someone to listen to your concerns is a huge stress relief in itself.

Financial We discussed & went through a check list of who you have to notify when a person dies. Together we arranged appointments with the bank & applied for a Surviving Winter grant to allow which would provide much needed funds to help with heating costs.

Social I encouraged my client to return to their choir group to ensure they was having some social interaction.

At Home

We discussed the idea of asking the local gardening group to see if anyone there would be willing to help tend to the garden & vegetable patch. I also encouraged my client to apply for attendance allowance as they would be eligible (which she hadn’t realised) & could be used to pay a cleaner to do the housework.

The Outcome

The lady said she had felt relieved to be able to talk openly without worrying about upsetting the family.

Financial My client felt more at ease with the checklist of practical things

they had to do & relieved to know the surviving winter grant would enable them to heat the home more until the weather turned warmer again.

Social She felt more positive about the future and less scared about living a life on their own.

At Home

She felt much less overwhelmed about the house and garden.

Carers Groups Castle Cary Carers Group

Chard Carers Group

Frome Carers Group

We have a comprehensive list of Carers Groups across Somerset - for more details of your local group please call, email us or check online!

Bishops Lydeard Bruton Burnham on Sea Castle Cary Chard Cheddar Crewkerne Dulverton Frome Frome (Transitioning Young Carers)

Ilminster Langport

Martock Minehead Porlock Somerton South Petherton Street/Glastonbury Taunton Wellington Wells Westonzoyland Williton Wincanton Yeovil

All About .... Carers Voice

Working together to improve the lives of unpaid carers in Somerset

Deborah de Mornay Penny Development & Engagement Officer

Neil Richards Chair of Carers’ Voice Somerset.

Carers’ Voice Somerset is the influencing body for unpaid carers in Somerset; it comprises of a partnership board and a developing charitable organisation. The charitable organisation is led and run by carers and connects with the wider caring community. This organisation gathers carers views and feedback in a variety of ways and the information gathered is then shared at the partnership board meetings. The partnership board is chaired by a carer and comprises of carers, former carers, representatives of Somerset County Council, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, Somerset Partnership NHS Trust, Somerset Carers Service, Somerset Young Carers Service, Somerset Parent Carer Forum and a variety of charitable organisations and agencies such as Age UK, Healthwatch and many more. The partnership board shares information and updates and discusses issues that are of importance to carers. Carers views and feedback are gathered and shared with all partners at these meetings, other meetings and workshops. Working in this way ensures that the information we have about carers needs is up to date and that those needs are considered in the planning and commissioning of services and support for carers, in Somerset.

Carers Voice Somerset provides a platform for carers to have their say and get involved. Now, more than ever carers are being listened to and we are actively working with those that make decisions about how we support carers in Somerset better.

Neil Richards – Chair of Carers’ Voice Somerset

Please see our website for upcoming events! More information, or to get involved, please contact: Partnership Board Information: 07866 785438

Charitable Organisation Information:

Free book If Only I'd Known THaT Have you got your FREE copy of ‘If Only I’d Known That’? Written by a Carer, Susan shares her caring journey with humour, dignity and practicality in the hope that other people in a similar position would find it helpful and not feel so alone in their caring role. This edition has been updated by Somerset Carers in collaboration with Susan, and we are delighted to share it with you. Click the link to download a digital copy, but if you would prefer a paper copy, please contact your local Carers Agent or contact the helpline.

Did you know - there is a FREE digital resource for Carers in Somerset? Developed by Carers UK, the toolkit is designed to support you in your role as a Carer – to help you shape what support you need as well as the person you are caring for. It contains: About Me: building resilience for carers: an e-learning resource that helps carers identify and build networks of support and promotes their self-care. Jointly: our care co-ordination app for people sharing care.

The role of good nutrition when caring for someone: an e-learning course that aims to help carers understand the role of nutrition both for themselves as well as the person they are looking after.

Upfront Guide to Caring: a simple assessment tool to guide people new to caring or seeking support for the first time to navigate the Carers UK website.

Looking after someone: Carers Rights Guide: which helps carers understand their rights as a carer and where to go for financial or practical help. Being Heard: a self-advocacy guide for carers: which helps carers develop the skills to selfadvocate. You can get free access by going to:

Quick Reference Contacts Age UK

British Red Cross

Carers UK Citizens Advice Engage DWP Somerset Carers Somerset VIllage Agents Somerset Partnership Mental Health Team Spark Somerset Somerset Direct Contact Somerset Direct for:

0800 88 22 00 01823 273 746

020 7378 4999 03444 111 444 01643 707 123 0800 055 6688 0800 31 68 600 01823 331 222 01278 432 000 01460 202 970 0300 123 2224

l Adult Social Care

l Blue Badge Scheme - or email -

For more organisations that may assist you go to: Cli




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Local and National Organisations

Hot off The Press!

Chair’s Award for Service to the Community

Somerset Carers nominated our wonderful Carers Group volunteers for this prestigious award & as a result the Chair has decided to give a group award to recognise the work and support all carers volunteers do, rather than one individual. A Carers Group Volunteer, Lauren Giddins (Carers Agent) & Audrey Mansfield (Agent Team Lead) will attend the presentation evening on Thursday 4 July 2019.

To contact your local agent directly for 1:1 support call

0800 31 68 600 or go online:

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Somerset Carers Agents

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