In 2015 Action for Family Carers celebrates 25 years of working with and for Unpaid Carers and is particularly proud to be The Carers Trust Carers Centre in Essex. The Charity was registered in 1990 and many will remember the Charity pre 2008 as Maldon Carer’s Centre. We are pleased that our support services are now even more varied and diverse, reaching out to more Unpaid Carers from the age of 8 to 108 and across Essex. There are 140,000 reasons to care in Essex and our ambition is to do just that and more for more!

So, do join us and help us celebrate by supporting us in one or more of our ‘25 4 25’ activities (25 activities for our 25th year – see the Pin Board in this Newsletter), nominating someone for 1 of our 25 Awards (see the Nomination Form in this Newsletter) and by sending your memories/pictures/articles for our 25 Year Success Story Board to Leanne in the office at Brickhouse Farm.

Last but by no means least, A BIG ‘Thank you’ for all that you do and continue to do.

Knit ‘n’ Natter
The New Year saw the launch of the ‘Caring for Carers Campaign’ - the first of the 25 events/activities organised by our Charity to recognise 25 Years of supporting Unpaid Carers in Essex. Knit N Natter started the ball of wool rolling (see above) and other Groups are showing they care by knitting 25 hearts and/or teddies to raise both the profile and support for Unpaid Carers in Essex. Please do make a Teddy or Heart (any pattern or pattern available from the office.)

Heavy Horse Show
Sunday 14th June 2015 10am - 5pm. Museum of Power, Hatfield Road, Langford, Maldon CM9 6QA.
The Museum of Power hosts the annual East Essex Heavy Horse Society show. Attractions include arena displays of working horses and dogs. There will be live music, country craft stalls & displays of vintage tractors. The museum will be open with working steam engine and historic machinery.
Miniature steam train rides (fare £1.00). Cost: Adults £8.00, Concessions £6.00. Children (3 to 15) £5.00. More details: 01621 843183
EEHHS have officially adopted AFFC as their charity of the year. So will fund raise on the 14th of June for Action for Family Carers.

 
 

Maldon Pantomime Kindly donates £1,000
Pictured here is David Mortimer, Chairman of Maldon Pantomime Society alongside Amanda Maker from our Young Carers Team. As a result of our Young Carers Day promotion last summer, we spoke to David about our support for local Young Carers.

From this, the Society chose Action for Family Carers Young Carers services for their charity of the year and presented us with a cheque of £1000 just before Christmas. We are very grateful and will make sure this goes to help those that need it most!

 

Young Carers Get Cooking!
Thanks to the generosity of the Colchester Forum Rotary Club, 10 of our Young Carers have kindly been offered the opportunity to complete an 8 week cookery course developed by Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food.

Those taking part will have the chance to develop knowledge and skills within the kitchen, learn more about healthy food options and eating, and most importantly make lots of delicious food for themselves and their family to try!

 

Carers Rights Week
Promoting National Carers Rights Week in Maldon on 28 November 2014.

Training
Free Training for Carers. We are currently holding training courses in Basic First Aid, Manual Handling (People) and Basic IT.
Booking is essential.

Basic First Aid for Carers

Mersea Island
Mersea Carers learning the art of Quilling from fellow carer Anne and the Mersea Carers Christmas lunch.

Maldon district – 2014 Christmas
A lovely lunch with good food and excellent company – a well deserved rest for carers to take time out to enjoy the festivities!

 
 

Staff say goodbye and thank you to volunteer Les Duncombe
Les started off as a volunteer cook at Brickhouse Farm in 1994 volunteering within the Respite Services. Over the past 20 years, Les has had a variety of roles with us which include being a Trustee and Treasurer. In the last few years that Les volunteered with us, he has been volunteering at the Mersea Island Respite Outreach Centre alongside the Day Care Assistants. The time that Les has given to us over the years in invaluable to all of us, including our carers and their cared for that we support.

‘‘Les has been a great asset to all of us, all of the clients are always asking after him too. When Les heard that Jenny was cooking a Shepherd’s pie, (which is his favourite!) he said he would be popping in to say hello. We all miss him very much’’.
Vivien Sowerbutts, Day Care Assistant at Mersea Island Outreach

 

Calling All Carers!
We are looking to bring together a ‘core’ of Carers who will be happy to engage from time to time with Action for Family Carers or other partners who are seeking communication with Carers.

Basically, we are looking for Carers who are happy to engage at short notice to attend:

• Press Interviews with local or national media
• Commissioners or local authority bodies
• Health and Social Care representatives

We are also seeking Carers who would like to form part of a panel to engage with internal and external partners or become involved in university study groups. At times this will be the same group of Carers and at others, we will seek different Carers to their voices are heard too.

We receive many requests from external parties asking for engagement opportunities with Carers and we feel it is very important to give Carers a ‘Voice’ and advocate for themselves and their fellow Carers as a group. This could influence services and opportunities for Carers in the future by talking to the decision makers!

If you would like to be involved, please contact Vicky Vollam, the Adult Carers Services Manager for more information.

From a volunteer
I started working as a Volunteer for AfFC May 2013. Having just lost my beloved husband, I realised that I needed something more in my life. After being a full time carer, I now had time on my hands, which I could give for the benefit of a Charity who had supported me for many years.

I work with the Adult Carers Team, and basically do anything they choose to “throw my way”!! For example researching on line, for specialist equipment required in our day centres, etc, and I am also involved in their Advocacy Service, where I assist at Advocacy Workshops, etc., which I love. This can also involve a long one-to-one relationship with a Carer who needs to deal with a particular problem at that specific time, under the supervision of our Advocate.

I have also been lucky to have assisted in the Carers Christmas Parties and special outings throughout the summer. In the summer months, I am also involved in some gardening at Brickhouse Farm. The new herb garden I planted last year, was a great success! Whatever the team give me (and they know my limitations!) I am happy to assist. I enjoy being involved with their work, which I find very rewarding and especially enjoy their friendship. Thank you ladies for having me!

From Monica Marsh, Volunteer, Adult Carers

From a Carer
Thank you for asking me to share my caring journey.
I first became aware of Action for Family Carers in early 2011. However soon after my husband’s condition deteriorated and he was placed into residential care.

I have found belonging to the Chelmsford based support group a fantastic help for me. Meeting each other regularly we have built a caring relationship, firstly talking to each other and sharing each others problems and having guest speakers and activities arranged gives us something to do together and enables us to forget for a while the problems we have left behind.

Action for Family Carers has offered information and advice whenever I have needed it, which in turn has enabled to care for my husband and understand his condition.

I hope Action for Family Carers are able to continue with the monthly meetings, as I know for myself and others I speak to that this service is invaluable to carers to obtain current and up to date information, learn skills and find friendships when we are experiencing challenges in our lives.

Mrs B of Chelmsford

THE GIFT OF TIME – THE VALUE OF VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS
At Action for Family Carers we run a variety of groups at Brickhouse Farm and several outreach groups in the area. For those who attend, the groups provide a valuable social opportunity. We need more volunteers to help provide these services – there are teas and coffees to be made, word games or quizzes to organise and crafts to help with.

Most of all we are looking for a willingness to listen to others, share a joke, raise a smile and to give some time to others for free. We have a small wildlife garden so someone with some gardening skills would also be a great asset to the team!

We know that most people lead busy lives, but if you think you can spare some time, please contact us, help is always appreciated. The charity is growing fast and there will be even more opportunities in the future.

If you would like more information please contact Leanne Walsh or Jayne Hare on 01621 851640 (Office hours 9.00am- 4.30pm Monday – Friday). Details of all group times, venues and dates are included in this newsletter. We would love to hear from you!

 
 

A Few Words from the CEO
As you will have noticed Action for Family Carers is 25 years old in April this year! We are planning a series of events and activities over the next 12 months all with the aim of raising awareness about unpaid Carers and the support that is available to them. As part of that we will want to acknowledge the contribution made by people through the years, including staff and volunteers. But the greatest contribution to our community is made by Carers themselves and enclosed with this Newsletter is a nomination form so that you can tell us about someone who really deserves our recognition.

We are committed to providing high quality services which are firmly based on what Carers want and need which is why we offer a range of opportunities for Carers to tell us. For example, we are holding our next Carers Forum from 10am at Archer Community Centre in Braintree – an opportunity for Carers living in Braintree District to tell us – including a member of our Board of Trustees – what they think of our services and what they would like us to provide in the future. If you would like to attend please contact Karen Forbes on 01621 851 640.

We have always been keen to ensure that all unpaid Carers in Essex have access to high quality support services regardless of where Carers live. With that in mind over the past year we have been working in partnership with Caring for Harlow Carers who provide very similar services in West Essex, and we plan to become one charity from 1st April retaining the name Action for Family Carers. We will continue delivering the services each charity currently provides and we will build on these to reach out to more unpaid Carers across the county.

So, 25 years on and some things are changing here but the only change that Carers should notice is for the better – easier access to a wider range of services across the whole county.
James Clarke, Chief Executive Officer

Raffle Draw Winners – Christmas 2014
We are pleased to confirm the winners of the Christmas Raffle Draw:
1st prize: Mr Chris Punch of Maldon – £100.00
2nd Prize: Claire Dewey of Harlow – Hamper
3rd Prize: Anne Preece of West Mersea – 6 bottles of wine

We were delighted and very grateful to the WI who kindly donated two Christmas
Hampers to us again this year. The two winners were:
Janet Knight and Jennifer Leadbetter.
Thank-you to all who entered in to the draw, we made a total of £1,193.

BEING A TRUSTEE
I retired early from full time employment and, after working for a long time, it was a somewhat exciting and at the same time daunting position to be in. I was looking forward to spending time reading the newspaper over breakfast and getting up to date on all those jobs that never really got done due to the lack of time and for the first few months this was great! But, you can only spend so long pruning the roses!

I was aware of the work of Action for Family Carers, having been invited to several quiz nights and also having danced the night away at one of its fundraising Balls. I was surprised firstly by how many unpaid Carers there are in the county and secondly by how many of these are young people, and the effect it has on their own lives.

I was thinking of helping out at events and doing some fundraising. However, following a chat with James, the Chief Executive, it became clear that I could provide a greater level of support in a more strategic role – as well as helping out at events!

For 45 years I worked in the public sector providing legal, corporate and strategic advice to elected members of local authorities. Over my career I worked for five Councils and within the NHS. My last role was as Deputy Chief Executive. I have also held various statutory positions, such as Monitoring Officer; Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer. In fact I have been involved in every election since 1970 and still act in a consultancy role for Councils when they have elections.

In 2007 I worked with the District Commissioner of Dedza in Malawi in south-east Africa to undertake a review of its governance arrangements, the results of which was implemented as a national model by the Government of Malawi.

As a Trustee I hope to be able to raise awareness of the important and often unrecognized role Carers undertake and what we do as an organization to support them. John Jones

Do you need respite care?

We can offer Carers in Maldon and Chelmsford a few hours break by looking after your cared-for in our day centre or one of our outreach venues.

Trained Care Assistants are available to provide a variety of activities and a Carer Support Worker can offer support to Carers.

Maldon
Brickhouse Farm, Poulton Close, Maldon. CM9 6NG.
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. 10.00am – 3.00pm.
Lunch will be provided and transport is available if required.

Burnham on Crouch
Carnival Hall, Arcadia Road, Burnham on Crouch, Essex CM0 8BS.
For adults, every Thursday, 10.00am - 2.30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

Tollesbury
The Parish Rooms, Church Street, Tollesbury CM9 8QJ.
For adults, every Friday, 10.00am – 2.30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

Great Baddow, Chelmsford
Meadgate Church Centre, 162A Meadgate Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford CM2 7LJ.
For adults, every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month 11.00am – 2.30pm.

Springfield, Chelmsford
St Augustines Church Hall, Beardsley Drive, North Springfield, Chelmsford CM1 6DQ.
For adults, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of month, 11.00am – 2.30pm.

Mersea Island
Harrison Court, Greys Close, West Mersea CO5 8QR.
For adults, every Thursday, 10.15am – 2.30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

If you would like any more information please contact Jayne or Liz who will be happy to be of assistance.

Our phone number is 01621 851640.

Office hours Monday – Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm

 
 

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