Our new National Lottery-funded carers service ‘Caring for Carers’ has got off to an exciting start, with the launch of a new programme of social, wellbeing and support groups for carers.

‘Caring for Carers’, made possible by a £265k grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, is launching a new programme of groups designed to support carer wellbeing. The service is being led by new staff Angela and Ahmi, pictured below, who have been consulting with carers to find out more about the challenges they face and how they can best support their needs.

Caring for a loved-one with a learning disability is a journey filled not only with love, pride and learning, but also many unique challenges. It can be emotionally and physically demanding and is often a lifelong role. It can involve navigating complex healthcare systems, managing challenging behaviour and adapting life significantly to ensure the changing needs of the cared-for person are being met. The constant worry about the future and the wellbeing of the cared-for person can be overwhelming.

Amidst these daily demands, it is easy for carers to neglect their own needs. However, self-care is essential both for the wellbeing of the carer and for the quality of the care they are able to provide.

Our new ‘Caring for Carers’ groups provide the space, support and resources carers need to prioritise their own wellbeing. The groups are built around caring being a shared journey. Our groups enable carers to connect with other people who understand and empathise with their experiences. Sharing emotions and experiences can provide relief, and experienced Mencap carers staff are on hand at every group to provide advice and information.

As well as peer support, Caring for Carers groups encourage carers to take a break and make time for activities that bring them joy. Groups include ‘Film Club’, ‘Craft Club’ and meeting for a coffee in cafes around Sheffield. There is also a baby and toddler group for parents at the beginning of their caring journey.

Service Manager Aaron Firth said

“We have a long history of supporting carers at Sheffield Mencap and Gateway, and this experience – along with consultations and feedback – has been the basis for developing our new groups. Caring is a selfless role, and we understand how difficult it can be. We want to bring carers together and encourage them to take the time to look after their own wellbeing as well as others”.

You can find out more about these new groups here. All groups are free and include refreshments. If you would like any additional information, please contact our Caring for Carers team on carersprojects@sheffieldmencap.org.uk or 01142 767757.

Make sure you also follow us on social media to see updates about workshops that support carers to consider long-term plans, including legal and financial matters.