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Inspiring Carers UK volunteer Jacqui talks about her Carers Week experience16 June 2016
Inspiring Carers UK volunteer Jacqui shares with us her great Carers Week experience
"Living in Rutland, a rural part of the country, it has always been difficult to find those who do not know that they are carers. So using the theme ‘building carer friendly communities’ I decided that this year that I would approach 4 GP’s surgeries and a local chemist and asked if I could have a stall in their venues. All those approached said “yes”.
I was contacted by Sainsbury’s Stamford Lincs the week before Carers Week asking if I could come into their store and by Lincs FM Group and Air on the Thursday of Carers Week asking me for an interview. The reply to both was yes.
The reality of what I had undertaken did not hit me until I drew up a schedule of where I was going to be and when, and how was I going to choose who got the heavily discounted salon treatment vouchers from the hairdressers.
I decided to divide the vouchers up equally for all the venues and put them in envelopes to do a ‘lucky dip’ but I was going to need help to deliver what I had promised and to continue caring for Joshua. Luckily Ashley my eldest son had arranged to have the week off from work and he along with Joshua’s PA Faith, who is also a young carer to her brother came to the rescue. They not only supported Joshua during this week but also came to events advocating for young carers. Ashley (who is a chef by the way) even made a cake to give away to the customers and staff in Sainsburys.
Ashley, Faith and I have met some lovely people during Carers Week. Some have made us laugh and others have had us near to tears but we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves returning home after each event absolutely exhausted. However, if asked would we do it again? My answer would be definitely and I am sure Ashley’s and Faith’s answer would be “yes” too.
Below are some of the things that some of the carers have said to us
- I am glad that you are here spreading the word because I got no help when I needed it a few years ago
- The checklist looks good. Are Carers UK going to do an audit of Rutland using this? It would be very interesting and a practical thing that could be done
- Thanks for the leaflet but please don’t call me a carer I don’t want that title I am her son not a carer!
- I pop in to my neighbour every day and do all her shopping and cleaning for her but I am not her carer. They go in to get her up and washed
- This information is so useful. I will let my siblings know
- I am so tired I just want a couple of hours a week just for me
- Would you be able to come back to the surgery later in the year?
- Thank goodness I caught you a friend told me you were about to leave and I desperately need information on claiming DLA or PIP
- I keep hearing everyone say that I should get a carers assessment but I don’t claim carers allowance
- I can’t get a carers assessment because I can’t claim carers allowance
- I was a carer but … anyway how can I make regular donations"