Our Befriending Service is Growing!
Action for Family Carers have secured funding to enhance their telephone befriending service. We have received funding that covers The North East, Mid region of Essex as well as Brentwood and Basildon. This will allow us to recruit Volunteers to support over 266 Carers across the service as well as a coordinator to develop befriending services long term.

More Day Centre Adventures!
Our Day Respite clients continue to enjoy their trips out and about having over the last couple of months enjoyed trips to Colchester Castle, the Maldon museum of power and Paper Mill Lock tearooms (where we also had a canal boat trip along the Blackwater and Chelmer canal).

The summer season and exceptional weather we enjoyed also meant a couple of trips to the seaside at Frinton and a day out at the Mersea Lions Beach Hut.

We shall be focussing upon visits and outings to local museums and places of interest, hopefully to include the Essex Regiment Museum and Essex Police Museum.

Successful Bid for Respite in South Woodham Ferrers!
Hot off the press!! And the big news for this edition is our recent success in the bidding process for grant aid.

A massive vote of grateful thanks must go to our friends at Provide and the Essex Community Foundation for the grant to assist Action for Family Carers in the setting up and running of a much needed day centre respite facility in South Woodham Ferrers.

Action for Family Carers were well represented at the Provide presentation evening at the Lion Inn, Boreham, on 22nd September 2016 by Chief Executive Officer James Clarke and Respite Services Manager Jayne Hare; where the cheque for £20,000 was presented to them by Provide’s Chief Executive Officer, John Niland and Chairman Derrick Louis.

So now we have some funds, the work begins. If you have a need for this new service in South Woodham Ferrers which is launching on Friday 13th January 2017 or know of someone who would benefit from it please call Nick Daws or Jayne Hare in the Respite Service.

If you would like to volunteer to help with this new venture please call either Nick Daws or Jayne Hare on 01621 851640.


Great Response!
Thank you for your kind response in our plea for a wheelchair, with your help one was sourced for the Day Centre’s use.

Therapy Room Open for Business!
At the Maldon Day Centre the new therapy room is ready for use! We are going to be offering hairdressing, manicure/pedicure/reflexology/Indian Head Massage, Health Checks and Counselling. These services are being trialled for Carers and their Cared-for. Please contact us to book (Nick or Jayne 01621 851640) and let’s make this a success.

  Our Best Of West Award Winner!

These awards were hosted by West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group to celebrate all the work both Staff and Volunteers are doing in the community to improve the health and wellbeing of people in West Essex.

There were 11 categories and Johanna Gill was awarded the ‘Caring Together’ award, an award aimed at ‘a local healthcare team that has worked closely with partners’.

Our Macmillan Carers Service Manager, Rebecca Loan, nominated Johanna for her collaborative work supporting people caring for someone at the end of life.

Johanna Gill and Deborah Fielding, the Accountable Officer for the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group

Bradwell Outdoor Activity Residential!
20 of our Young Adult Carers had a great time away when they visited Bradwell Outdoor Activity Centre.

Arriving at 6pm on a Friday evening our young people were thrown into Operation Mosquito, and after being left on an airfield in the dark with a map and a torch they had to locate check points and work around the area in groups to retrieve a hidden package.

The following day we were all up and on a bicycle ride. Our young people had clues to navigate themselves around local points of interest to gain information for their final destination, learning to work as a team and communicate with each other to solve the final puzzle.

In the afternoon most of us boarded a small ferry and set sail. The braver ones had a trip on a much faster rib, and our young people went crabbing over on Mersea Island.

Our busy day was ended with a barbecue and although the weather was damp our spirits were not. A well-deserved break from caring roles was had by all that attended and as always on these events some great friendships were made. Thank you to Bradwell Outdoor Activity Centre for providing such a great weekend.

Improving Communication Skills
A Media Day was held on 25th August for Young Carers aged 10+ providing our young people with help to improve communication skills, interview techniques, and presentation skills.

Anglia Ruskin University Visit
Some of our Young Adult Carers were offered the opportunity to experience university life and went along to Anglia Ruskin for the day. This was to enable them to become an independent traveller and to learn to navigate their way to the campus. They had the opportunity to look around medical facilities, the university library and also meet with student ambassadors and to ask any questions about university life. The whole day was very informative and our Young Adult Carers were certainly left feeling inspired and planning for their futures.


Young Carers Conference 2016

On the 9th September Action for Family Carers held a Young Carers Conference at Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Three workshops were held that raised awareness around Young Carers in education, Young Carers and their mental health, and Young Carers supporting a parent who misuses drugs or alcohol.

Feedback was that the workshops hi-lighted issues that Young Carers face, and how Young Carers can be supported by professionals in different environments.

A Big Thank You to those that spoke on the day- Kathy Laird from Farlingaye High School, Jen Kenwood from NHS England, Chloe Alexander from Carers Trust, and Tim Frances the Youth Commissioner.

Also our thanks go to Councillor Anne Brown and Councillor Ray Gooding who spoke passionately about the County’s commitment to supporting Young Carers.

It was inspiring for all in attendance to hear from a 12 year old Colchester Young Carer and Young Adult Carer- to hear things from their perspective gave an added meaning to the day, also Yvonne Playle a Young Adult Carer Transition Worker interviewed two Young Adult Carers who then took questions from the audience.

Farm To Fork!

'Maldon Young Carers would like to say a huge Thank You to our local Tesco Store, in particular to Amanda Holden, for inviting us to complete a Farm to Fork trail.

We all tried different cheeses and breads, made our own muesli, as well as finding out how cold it was in the freezer! Brrrrrr.

We also learnt a lot about healthy eating and we were very proud of how the group behaved, everyone listened, learned and participated, and were rewarded with a chocolate muffin. Shhhhhh…… '

A Night At The Theatre!
30 Young Carers from the Colchester District had a fabulous experience during the half term holidays when they watched a live performance of The Railway Children at The Kings Cross Theatre in London.

Their faces were a picture when the steam train came to a halt on the main stage. A truly memorable trip.

‘Silence Speaks’

Debbie & I kicking off our silence!

Johanna Gill, Macmillan Support Worker describes her 12 hour sponsored silence:

I was inspired to take part in the Motor Neurone Disease Association ‘Silence Speaks’ campaign after working closely with a Carer in Ongar. She is currently caring for her husband who was diagnosed with MND in late 2014. He had previously been diagnosed with arthritis, but soon after a visit to the physio, their world was turned upside down with this much more serious diagnosis.


I have worked at length with this Carer helping her to come to terms with her husband’s diagnosis, as well as practical support day to day to help her manage. Although he is still able to use his speech to communicate, helping this Carer accept that one day this may change is something we have worked very hard at together. I have seen how devastating the idea is of losing a voice, so taking part in a sponsored silence was something I wanted to take part in.

I decided to dedicate 12 hours of the day to complete silence, using only post it notes, chalkboards and notepads to communicate. Debbie Olszewska supported me by joining my silence for an hour, so I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t join in conversations! Throughout my silence, I had my Carer and her husband in mind, as well as all those who no longer have a voice due to MND.

Over the half way mark, 4 more hours to go! Using a chalkboard to communicate.

After a successful online campaign, I managed to raise £364 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. This money will go towards funding approximately five FAB alphabet charts (mobile spelling board) so thank you everyone for your kind donations!

A Successful Macmillan Coffee Morning!

On Friday 30th September we held a very successful Macmillan coffee morning and raised the sum of £260! Well done to all involved.


The Basildon & Brentwood Carers Forum
The Basildon & Brentwood Carers Forum was held in Billericay this year. Thank you to the Carers who were able to attend, we had some great feedback on our services and your personal experiences as Carers, as well as some great ideas to focus on in the future.

We were joined by 2 of our Trustees, Sue Bailey and Colin Bennett, as well as our Chief Executive Officer James Clarke.

We hold these forums in each area through the year, if you would like to have a say in shaping the future of our Charity please contact us to find out when the next one in your area is due to take place.

Dementia Carers Workshop!
Carers workshop for those caring for someone with dementia – This is being held in the Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital on Wednesday 30th November from 10am-2pm.

These sessions generally run on a 6-8 week basis, and are normally provided by Home Instead in partnership with Jane Gilby, Dementia Nurse Specialist at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital.

Action for Family Carers have been asked to deliver the next session and will be on hand to provide information, advice and guidance; relevant to the caring situation and personal circumstances. The session is open to all who are caring for someone with Dementia, though places are limited. Please let us know if you would like to attend this session!

Training for Carers
Carer Barbara Harpin being presented with a certificate by Karen Wheeler (Community Capacity Builder, Provide). Barbara had successfully completed ‘People Moving and Handling’ Training. Congratulations!


Dunmow Carers Support Group
During October’s Dunmow Carers Support Group, Kay Odysseos from West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group highlighted the availability of weekend GP appointments and told carers about ‘My Care Record’ (which allows the patient to give permission to health and other professionals to access their medical records during treatment).

Suzanne Blackwood, Fiona Langridge, Kay Odysseos.

Essex Success Regime
Tuesday 6th December 11am–2:30pm
Queens Park Community Church, Billericay.
Buffet Lunch & Entertainment included.
Places must be booked in advance by calling
01621 851640


West Essex Christmas Lunch & Cabaret
12th of December from 12pm–4pm
Hunter’s Meet in Hatfield Heath.
Places must be booked in advance by calling
01279 308314


Chelmsford Christmas Party
Tuesday 13th December 10:30am–3pm
St Augustine’s Church Hall, Springfield.
Buffet Lunch & Entertainment included.
Places must be booked in advance by calling
01621 851640


A Few Words from the CEO
There are some exciting new service developments underway at Action for Family Carers! We are extending our telephone befriending service from Mid and West Essex into the North and South of the county, with a grant from Essex County Council.

We are also developing a new and much-needed day care service to provide Carers in South Woodham Ferrers with some regular respite breaks whilst giving the service users an enjoyable and stimulating day. We are very grateful to the Provide Foundation for the funding which will enable that to happen. We will also be providing some services targeted at working Carers – more details to follow.

Over the last couple of months we have been busy supporting Carers plus raising awareness to reach out to even more via a series of successful Carer Roadshows across the county in partnership with Essex County Council.

I attended our Carers Forum in Billericay where I heard many positive messages about the charity plus some areas we will work on, including that we will deliver more training in future, on topics such as Lasting Power of Attorney.

The Carers Forum in Maldon will also take place as this newsletter goes to print but if you live in West Essex our Carers Forum in Harlow is on 1st December – details from our Harlow Centre 01279 308314.

Finally, very best wishes for a peaceful Christmas!

James Clarke, Chief Executive Officer

Stay Well This Winter Campaign

Please ask at your GP practice or local pharmacy about having your flu vaccination.

People who are recommended to have the flu vaccine are:

• everyone aged 65 and over
• all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
• all two, three and four-year-old children
• all children in school years 1, 2 and 3
• everyone living in a residential or nursing home
• everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
• household contacts or anyone who is immunosuppressed
• all frontline health and social care workers

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.

Brickhouse Farm, Poulton Close, Maldon. CM9 6NG.
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 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 - 3.30pm.
Lunch will be provided.

The Salvation Army, Tendring Road, Harlow CM18 6RN. Wednesday 10.30am – 3.30pm.
Enquiries to Fiona Langridge, 01279 308314.

Springfield, Chelmsford
St Augustines Church Hall, Beardsley Drive, North Springfield, Chelmsford CM1 6DQ.
For adults, every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, 10.30am – 3.30pm.

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 who will be happy to be of assistance.

Our phone number is 01621 851640.

Office hours Monday – Friday 9.00am – 4.30pm


Carer Survey To Help Shape The Future!

As part of Essex County Council’s commitment to listen to the voice of Carers for the re-design of Carer services from 2018, an on-line survey has been launched.

This on-line survey will be live until Sunday 27th November 2016, it is only short and it is a great opportunity for Carers to get involved and have their say so please take a few minutes of your time to complete.

The survey can be accessed at this URL. Alternatively comments can be emailed to


Adult Carer Support Groups

Basildon Carers Support Group
3rd Thursday – 12pm-2pm – Five Bells Harvester

1st Friday of the month – 1-3pm Archers Community Centre

2nd Monday – 12pm-2pm The Artichoke

Chelmsford CVS
1st Tuesday – 2-4pm Chelmsford CVS, Covall Lane

Chelmsford Evening Group
2nd Wednesday – 6:30-8:30pm The Angel Pub

4th Wednesday – 10:30am-12:30pm The Station House, Burnham on Crouch

2nd Thursday – 1:15pm-3pm – Jack Silley Pavillion, Stonards Hill Recreation Ground

4th Thursday of the month – 1-3pm Colne View Residential Care Home

2nd Tuesday – 10:30am-12:30pm Great Parndon Community Centre, Abercrombie Way

Harlow Care to Chat
Last Thursday of the month – 1-3pm Museum of Harlow, Muskham Road

1st Monday – 10:30am-12:30pm West Maldon Community Centre

Maldon & Dengie Stroke Group
Once a month on a Thursday 10:30am-12:30pm – Fullbridge Church, Maldon

Saffron Walden
1st Tuesday – 2pm-4pm - ‘The Garden Room’ 3 Hill Street, Saffron Walden

4th Wednesday – 10am-12pm - Banks Court (Housing 21), Chequers Lane, Great Dunmow

Waltham Abbey
3rd Tuesday – 10am-12pm - James Suite, Waltham Abbey Town Hall

4th Monday – 10am-12pm – Wickford Community Centre

2nd Wednesday of the month – 2-4pm Witham Leisure Centre

Coming Soon – a new Carer Support Group will be starting in Billericay early 2017 – contact or ring the office for more information.


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