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Help For Carers
'Carer': - someone who has caring responsibilities for a spouse, relative, friend or neighbour who, due to disability, frailty, illness and/or vulnerability, cannot manage alone in the community. Carers care without pay and can be of any age.

All carers in the Ashford & Shepway area have the opportunity of accessing the various services on offer from Carers' Support.

Carers' Support is a voluntary organisation & independent charity, specifically set up to support & promote the needs of Ashford & Shepway carers, of all ages. It aims to provide carers with services which include emotional support, practical information and support groups.

Young Carers are a project run by Carers' Support that offers an impartial and confidential service providing carers under 18 with information, advocacy and respite. This includes regular workshops and training days run in conjunction with other agencies, school support and 1-2-1 support. The respite activities can include theatre trips, days out, as well as outdoor activities & camping weekends.

The Ashford support groups for adults are held at 'Waterstone's' Book Shop in County Square and meet every first & third Friday from 11am - 12.30pm, and every second Tuesday from 1.30pm - 3pm. There is also a Parent-Carer Group which meets at Park Farm Recreation Centre, Field View, Park Farm every third Monday from 10am - 12pm.

This last six months has seen the launch of two new services for carers in the area; the Emergency Card & Tele-befriending.

The Emergency Card provides the carer with peace of mind. A big concern for carers is what would happen if whilst away from their cared-for, they themselves were suddenly taken ill or involved in an accident. This new & free scheme gives carers the opportunity to set up their own emergency plan in case such an event occurs, by carrying the card at all times, the emergency plan is just one step away.

The Tele-befriending Scheme was launched with the aim of trying to reduce the isolation that carers can often find themselves in. If a carer is unable to get along to a support group, a regular phone call from a volunteer befriender can make a difference to their lives by offering a listening ear, friendship, support and confidentiality. This is an extension to the face-to-face Befriending Service that Carers' Support already provides, where a volunteer spends an hour or two fortnightly with the carer offering emotional support & practical information.

New volunteers are always welcome as this enables the service to be offered to more carers in need of the service.

Article contributed by:
Frances Matthews
mailto:admin@ashford-carers.org
Submitted on: 20th June 2007