July’s Book Club was once again well attended with carers and former carers. We are now holding it at the Environment Centre, Pier St, Swansea (in the cafe – lovely coffee). This month’s book was ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ by Bill Bryson. Next month we are hoping that local author Tracey Rees will pop along to the book club and discuss her knew book ‘Florence Grace’ with us.
ABMU placement – We now have one worker at Morriston Hospital every Thursday speaking to staff and carers about our services. So far, it has proved worthwhile with many referrals coming through. We also have 2 volunteers, Debbie and Ann who are based at Singleton Hospital every Tuesday.
Job Club – Through our Active Inclusion project Life Skills2 we are now holding a Job Club at Swansea Carers Centre helping carers (25+) gain employment skills, job search, interview techniques etc. Every Wednesday 10am – 12pm.
Two new carers activity groups have proved popular with carers – Debbie’s Beading Group run by our volunteer Debbie is held once a month (beads and equipment must be paid for) and the Knitting Group where carers come along for a ‘knatter and knit’.
Message fro Nicky Stonelake, Volunteer Co-ordinator “I think most of you know that I am retiring at the end of July. It has been a privilege to work for this charity, but now I am looking forward to more free time for myself and my family.
I have been involved with the Carers Centre from 2000 to 2005 and from 2011 to 2016. It has been very rewarding to meet so many lovely volunteers, to help them grow in confidence and to see some of them progress to higher education or paid work.
As a carer myself, I am very grateful for all the time and commitment which volunteers have contributed over the years. I am also grateful for the support I have received from the Trustees, who paid my salary out of reserve funds when there was no other funding available. It has been a pleasure to work with 3 Directors, who were all very wise and compassionate people. And last but not least, a huge thank you to my colleagues. The never-ending supply of tea, coffee and good humour has always lightened the work load.
With many thanks and best wishes, Nicky
Training Update – Introduction to Mindfulness was held at the Environment Centre. This course has proven time and time again to be very popular and successful with carers. On 26 July we are holding a 1/2 day ‘Introduction to Mindful photography’ so watch this space for the photographs.
Plans are well underway for next week’s Carers’ Week 6-12th June. We have so many information stands around the City:- Sainsbury’s, Morriston and Singleton Hospital, the local colleges, Civic Centre to name a few. Pop in and speak to our staff or just pick up some information. We have been putting packs together this afternoon! In this heat too!
As usual it was a very busy and successful Carers Week. Our Caring for Carers Well-Being Day on Thursday 9th June was attended by over 100 carers and professionals who came together at the Scout & Guide HQ to enjoy a day of relaxation, information and activities. “I massage my autistic son and daughter every night. It was lovely to experience nurture myself. Yoga and mindfulness help me during the challenges facing me as a carer!” said one participant
“This event gave me practical advice and assistance, knowledge for my role and a knowing that there is help
available!” said another
Carers getting a chance to relax
Prior to this year’s event Carers were asked to put forward nominations for professionals who have gone the extra mile and made a real difference to them in their roles as unpaid carers.
A wide variety of nominations were received for professionals working across a range of partner agencies.
(The photograph shows Left to right: Cllr Paulette Smith; Hayley Dardecker (Star Services); Byron Mearday- Family Information Service; Sister Melanie Davies-Ward G, Morriston Hospital; Dr Lloyd-Swansea University Health Centre; Michelle Jones, Princess Street Surgery; Kath Protheroe-Trehafod; Karenza Cassidy-Peer Advocate; Sandra Spratt-SCVS; Cllr Erika Kirchner).
After a troublesome few months our website is now up and running and now we can start updating our Blog!
March ended with two new groups starting at the Carers Centre – Knitting group and Bead making. The Bead making group is run by Debbie Fillis who kindly provides the bead making equipment.
The knitting group has attracted knitters of different abilities coming together to knit, share patterns and expertise as well as socialising together.
New staff – We are delighted that we have recruited new staff members who will be in post from May.
They are: Richard Chiplin – Finance Officer Alex Atkins – Young Adult Carer Project Manager
Ruth Hegarty – Young Adult Carer Worker Daniel Mathias – Advocacy Administrator
Charlotte Dyer – Advocacy Worker. We look forward to them joining our team.
Life Skills 2 Project
This project will provide tailored and confidential support and information on learning, training and employment opportunities to unpaid carers aged 25+. The project will offer friendly 1 to 1 advice and information, career guidance, form filling and help with job applications, CV writing skills and interview practice, Skills assessments and help finding the right job plus volunteering opportunities. If you are a carer aged 25+ then contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
First Aid training
Staff and volunteers attended a 1 day Emergency First Aid training course at Alpha Training. Some of the staff were renewing their certificates whilst others had never attended 1st Aid training before. Everyone agreed it was an informative day with plenty of opportunity to practice those tricky bandages and, of course, CPR using the Annie dolls!
As usual we started the month with 12 carers enjoying a FREE holistic therapy. Many thanks to Kim, Jean, Dawn and Linda our volunteer therapists who give up their time each month to treat carers to a massage, craniosacral or reflexology therapy.
This month sees the start of our 6 week Stress Control course. This popular course is designed to help carers understand the causes of stress and anxiety and learn techniques that will help you deal with them.
This month we celebrated 10 years as an independent charity at the Waterfront Church, SA1. Over 70 carers and professionals who attended the event were treated to entertainment by Pen-y-Bryn school choir, Boyd and his African drummers and Stuart who, along with some audience anticipation, treated us to a medley of harmonised singing. Directors of Swansea Carers Centre, past and present, spoke about how the Centre evolved into the successful charity we have today.
We began July with the fantastic news that we are officially Sainsbury’s (Swansea Marina)’s local charity of the year. Many thanks to everyone who voted for us, it will make a huge difference. Sainsbury’s staff are keen to get involved with Swansea Carers Centre and raise funds and we look forward to working with them.
As usual on the first Monday of the month we held our Holistic Therapies sessions, giving carers a much needed treat and a bit of ‘me time.’ One carer commented afterwards, “I feel amazing, so relaxed. The whole experience was such a treat. More please! Thank you all so much for giving up your time to enable this to happen for me!”
Also during the first week we held our monthly Book Club for carers and former carers. This support group has been running for over 5 years and keeps getting bigger and bigger with new carers joining us for mutual support, a love of reading and good company! We have planned a trip to Tenby in August as well as our annual pilgrimage to Hay-on-Wye.
June, the official start of Summer and for us of a very busy month of celebrations.
The first week of June is national Volunteers Week. A week when we recognise the contribution volunteers make to society. At Swansea Carers Centre we certainly value our volunteers – without them we simply could not offer the services we do. Nicky, our Volunteer Coordinator organised a visit to the Grand Theatre, Swansea for a ‘backstage tour’ followed by a cream tea as a big ‘Thank You’.
Volunteers enjoying their tour of The Grand
The second week is Carers Week! This year we have been promoting our services everywhere! On Monday staff from the City & County of Swansea, ABMU, Crossroads Young Carers, SCVS picked up banners and information packs and staffed information points all over the city, from Central Library to Gorseinon Development Trust via Singleton Hospital, Cefn Coed Hospital and Gower College to name but a few.
Stand at Swansea Central Library
Two members of our staff, Christine and Fleur were invited to Sainsbury’s to ‘pitch’ for a chance of being named their Charity of the Year. We were delighted to hear that we are down to the last three charities. Voting will continue until the end of June. We hope we can rely on your vote. www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk
We ended a very successful Carers Week with an event at the Waterfront Church – ‘Building Carer Friendly Communities’ attended by carers and over 30 charities and statutory organisations.
Working in partnership once again with ABMU to promote the ‘Health Passport.’ This a new initiative from ABMU is a communication tool which displays information by using a traffic light system to help carers of a child, health professionals and those dealing with your child to rapidly understand your child’s health needs, likes and dislikes, etc. so your child is safe and comfortable in health care settings. Read more about the initiative here
Our Caring Break Service based at Ty Conway in Penlan were thrilled to receive £1,000 from Persimmon Homes West Wales. The money will go towards developing a sensory garden at Ty Conway and also installing a ramp so that wheelchair users can work and use the garden too. For more information on replacement care and respite for carers Click Here
November has been another busy month at the Centre. Project Cariad, our Big Lottery funded Education and Training project has had Carers singing, dancing and drumming their way through November so far. They have been ‘tripping the light fantastic’ at our FitSteps dance classes held at The Revue Studios in Swansea; African drumming at Sketty Methodist Church and Harmony Singing at the YMCA. The rest of November looks just as busy with a Pottery class, people and manual handling training plus an Everyday First Aid course.
As usual we treated carers to free holistic therapies on the first Monday of November. These therapies are always popular with carers – December’s are booked up! The Book Club met at Waterstones during the first week of November. This is also popular with our carers – we now have 15 members! The next book we will be reviewing in December is called ‘The Aftermath’ by Rhidian Brook.
Our welfare advice service has completed over 80 benefit forms for carers this month and we supported over 180 carers across all of our services!
October has been a busy month at the Carers Centre so far. We have already seen the start of Harmony Singing for Health and Fun– we would love to grow a Carers Choir! We also held an Emergency First Aid session for carers – if you are interested in this, do get in touch as we have another one running in November, plus we are doing a day on Manual & People Handling. Towards the end of the month we are excited to run our first Pottery workshop, and if you missed out on our Intro to Mindfulness course – don’t worry, we are hoping to put on another – contact firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you’re interested. Our Sleep & Relaxation 2 week course has also taken place this month, it’s the second time that we have put this on as it has received such positive feedback from the carers who went along.
A huge thank you to Nicola and the Funky Dragon team, for their fabulous donation of office furniture, for our new training/meeting room which will be opening very shortly. More details to follow. Many thanks.
October has also seen a welcome addition to our team, Celyn Bowen, the new 50+ carers advocate at Swansea Carers Centre. She has worked as a professional advocate for over 2 years and specialises in Adult Mental Health and Mental Health Carers Advocacy. We are pleased that Celyn has joined us, she says she is ‘passionate about supporting carers to have their voices heard, their opinions listened to and their views taken into consideration’.
The fantastic gardening volunteers Chris Tribe and Keith Skeggs have done a fabulous job of doing up the garden at Ty Conway. Keith has started to build some raised planters that will be accessible by wheelchair users. Keith has kindly donated the wood himself. Also many thanks to Rank Bingo who have fundraised for the Carers Centre enabling Ty Conway to buy some new furniture.
Angela our Transition Worker with Dyma Ni will be at Canolfan Gorseinon Centre, Millers Drive, Gorseinon on Friday 31st Oct with information about her project and also helping Interplay celebrate 25 years!
This has been an exciting month at the Carers Centre. We finally moved into our brand spanking new offices on the top floor of Mansel House – whilst still retaining a Reception and offices on the ground floor.
September also saw the start of our Autumn training courses. Carers have been learning to dance like they do on ‘Strictly’ on the FitSteps course at The Revue Studios. Over 6 weeks they will be taught how to dance the jive, cha cha cha, waltz and tango by an instructor who has been trained by Strictly Champions Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite.
Our free holistic therapies, held on the first Monday of the month, were well attended by carers. Therapies including Reflexology, Craniosacral Therapy and Reiki.
And finally, the Carers Book Club travelled to Hay-on-Wye for a lovely day browsing amongst the many bookstores and enjoying a lovely lunch together and the Mental Health Carers Support Group enjoyed a day trip to Tenby.