Beau is a Labradoodle!

We had a visit from Alison Jeffs, who works for the voluntary service, Pets as Therapy, at the respite centre at Brickhouse Farm in Maldon.

Alison brought Beau, a cross between a black labrador and a poodle, along to the centre to visit the residents. Beau is the size and shape of a labrador but has a very gentle nature and loves to meet people. All the animals at Pets as Therapy undergo training to make sure they are suitable for this type of work.

Alison works at Farleigh Hospice and has taken Beau into the hospice to visit the clients. The success of these visits encouraged her to visit other places such as respite centres.

The clients like to meet Beau and Alison, many of them live alone and they enjoy the extra company that an animal such as Beau can provide. Alison has said that she is happy to visit all of the respite centres so look out for a visit in the future.

Alison told us that Beau, who at 2 is almost fully grown, curls up at night with a cat and a chicken!


Advocacy Workshops

Our Advocate is running a series of Self Advocacy Workshops for carers in Chelmsford, Maldon and Brentwood, with the next one scheduled for 10.15am on 6th March at Brickhouse Farm. If you would like to book please call on 01621 851640 or email

The Workshops aim to help carers to deal more effectively with the issues they face through shared experiences and practical tips.

The following three Workshops will look specifically at how to make a complaint. This can be a very effective way of making your views heard, getting things done and even changing things for the future but sometimes it can be a daunting process. There is even the fear it may make things worse.

These Workshops will show how a complaint can be a tool to help you to achieve your objectives. All details are on the website or call us 01621 851640 to book for any of the Workshops (or email )


A Tribute to Garth
‘’He was a big, lovely man who will be sadly missed.’’ That’s how a colleague reacted to the sad news that Garth Curtis, one of our recent Trustees, had died unexpectedly in November following a short illness.

Garth started working with AFFC mid 2011 and was formally appointed a Trustee at the next AGM. As a former successful businessman, he brought tremendous enthusiasm and creativity to the Trustee Board, and he did everything in good spirits . . . and normally in shorts!

Garth and his wife Gill were great supporters of the charity in many ways, particularly in fundraising. He saw this as a way of raising our profile as well as generating much needed funds to support our aim of making a real difference to the lives of unpaid carers throughout Essex. He was particularly passionate about supporting the work our staff do in helping Young Carers.

We all have our own memories of Garth, but the general message is one of a fun-loving family man, with a great sense of humour and wonderful spirit. His gifts to the charity continue, not only from the ongoing support from Gill, but from donations made in his memory which Gill has kindly asked to be made to AFFC.

We all miss him and send our best wishes and condolences to Gill and his family.


Young Carers Trip to Go Bananas
Just before Christmas on the 19th of December the Young Carers from Maldon, Tiptree and Colchester came together for a trip to Go Bananas, a large indoor play centre.

50 Young Carers had exclusive use of the centre for 2 hours in the evening. All who came enjoyed their 2 hours of free play and by the end Young Carers and staff were exhausted after all the running around. It was a great ending to 2013 for the Young Carers.


Colchester & Maldon Young Adult Carers
Our Young Adult Carers from Colchester & Maldon attended the Skills London 2013 workshop at the Excel Centre in London. This event was open to schools, colleges & support groups and was full of employers, universities and training providers, there were organizations such as the RAF, Marriott Hotel Groups, The Army, National apprenticeship Service, Mcdonalds, Starbucks, even MI5 & MI6! The event was a great experience for the YAC’s that attended.

One YAC beat the best time on the RAF reaction test by 16 seconds! Another YAC, who wants to become a patisserie chef got to talk to a head chef from the Marriott stand and offered work experience once she is qualified.

Young Adult Carer Education
Support Sessions

Georgina is now running a support service for Young Adult Carers that are students of the Colchester Institute. She attends the college every other Wednesday lunchtime, between 12pm-2pm. Georgina offers 1:1 support sessions for identified young adult cares at the college and a drop-in service to young adult carers that are new to our service that have been identified by student support at the college. The sessions are proving really popular with our Young Adult Carers and the college feels this is a positive step to help improve the attendance and attainment of Young Adult Carers in Further Education, it is providing early intervention from a support service that is specialised and understands Young Adult Carers needs.


Maldon Young Carers!
With thanks to the Maldon Carnival Donation, we were able to take the young carers to Go Bananas, in Colchester, it was a really enjoyable evening, and the Kids had a great time.

Since the last news letter we have received a donation from Burnham Carnival for £300, The Maldon Pantomime Society for £1000 and Asda Heybridge for £322. Rio has now been booked with Burnham Carnival Funding, and The Young Carers enjoyed a night of laughter at the MAPS Cinderella Performance.


Do you have a will?
According to a survey by Foresters Friendly Society (i) almost two thirds (61%) of people in the UK do not have a will, while one in ten of those with a will have told no-one else where it is. This survey also found that nearly half of those aged between 55 and 64 have not made a will (46%), while over one in eight (13%) are relying on self-written wills, the validity of which is more likely to be challenged upon death.

These statistics are quite shocking; especially if you consider that we will all need a will at some stage. Therefore, we have included some key notes on what you need to know about making a will. (ii)

What is a will?
Your will is a document that lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death.

What should be in a will?
• Who you want to benefit from your will
• Who should look after any children under 18
• Who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor)
• What happens if the people you want to benefit die before you

Making sure it is legal
• Although you can write your will yourself, it is recommended that you get legal advice to make sure your will is interpreted in the way you wanted. You can contact a professional will writer or solicitor to assist you with this.
• You need to get your will formally witnessed and signed to make it legally valid.
• If you die without a will, the law says who gets what.

Updating your will
• You cannot amend your will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a will is by making an official alteration called a codicil or making a new will.
• You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as witnessing a will.
• There’s no limit on how many codicils you can add to a will.
• You should review your will every 5 years and after any major change in your life, e.g.: getting separated, married or divorced, having a child, moving house or if the executor named in the will dies.
• For major changes you should make a new will. This must explain that it revokes (officially cancels) all previous wills and codicils and you should destroy your old will.

(i) Survey by Foresters Friendly Society

(ii) More information can be found via this link


A Few Words from the CEO
Whilst the national news is full of stories about improvements in the economy, unpaid Carers – and the charities working to support them – are facing an increasingly difficult and uncertain time. For example, Carers UK research has indicated that, over the next four years, unpaid Carers are facing a £1billion cut to financial help.

Action for Family Carers is now providing more services for more Carers in Essex than ever but financial constraints on the local authority and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups mean these services are under serious threat. We know that unpaid Carers save the economy an estimated £119billion in health and social care costs and we will keep making that case.

On a more positive note, there has been a further amendment to the Children and Families Bill which will strengthen the rights of parent carers of children under 18. That Bill and the forthcoming Care Bill should lead to improvements in the recognition of and support for unpaid Carers.

To keep in touch with developments like these see Action for Family Carers’ Twitter feed and search for related items on Twitter using the hashtag #carers. Or come along to meet me at one of our Carers’ Forums – the next one takes place on Friday 21st March at Braintree Baptist Church from 12 – 2pm. Call us on 01621 851 640 to book a place.

Please pop along to our Jumble Sale on 29th March in Danbury – we have collected more jumble than ever so there will be a lot of bargains to be found!

Our Charity Ball – only held every two years – takes place on Saturday 12th April at Three Rivers. We’d be delighted to see you if you are able to attend.

Finally, if you have any feedback on our newsletter – for example if there is anything you would like to see more information about - do please let us know.
Best wishes,
James Clarke

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 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.

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


Congratulations to our Christmas Raffle Draw Winners!
1st Prize: Mrs Hart from Chelmsford – Kindle Paperwhite
2nd Prize: Mr Crozier from Cressing – Christmas Hamper
3rd Prize: Mrs Chesson from Braintree – 6 Bottles of Wine

We raised a total of £1,200 from the Christmas Raffle Draw, this is a fantastic amount and we couldn’t have done this without your support, so thank-you to all who entered!

We also had two lovely Christmas Hampers which were kindly donated by the WI, we wanted to draw two volunteers’ names for the hampers and the two winners were:

Suzanne Adams a Day Care Assistant Volunteer within the Respite Team
Brenda Tate who is a Counsellor Volunteer within the Adult Team

New Ceramic Hob
We were delighted to receive a £400 cheque from Maldon Town Council to purchase a new cooker hob for the Day Care Centre.

Janet, Action for Family Carers Volunteer Cook said “This is brilliant news. Our clients enjoy a two-course hot lunch every day and a new ceramic hob will help me cook more
efficiently and safely for


Stop Press! Exciting News from the Island of Mersea
On Thursday 30 January 2014 Jenny Goodson held a brand new Carer Support Group for family Carers on the Island.

Jenny is our new Carer Support Worker for Mersea Island and invited carers to attend the meeting that was held at Akhurst Court at 10.30am and 12.30pm. 9 carers, Carole Preston (Community Matron) and Sue Guerney (GP Carer Advisor) attended and were welcomed with delicious cakes and refreshments.

After a brief introductory speech by Jenny, Sue and Carole gave the group an insight into their roles in the community and how to get in touch with them. Carers shared their experiences of caring and expressed interest in having future sessions devoted to topics such as:

Power of Attorney, Emergency Planning, Zone Wardens, and the role of a GP Practice Manager.

This was an excellent start for this new group with many complimentary comments given and we look forward to meeting even more carers at the next session on Thursday 27th February 2014!

To find out more, contact Jenny or the office on 01621 851640.


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