Too often our newspapers are full of doom and gloom, or argument and dispute, so I’d like to take the opportunity to comment positively on a service that has made such a difference to my life over the last six years.
I’ve been a carer for my wife for many years, but gradually realised my own life was drifting, with little social contact and few interests, and left us spending more time together than we might have wished.
In 2008, I was introduced to Carers Northumberland and since then have become part of a substantial network across the county – almost 36,000 of us in fact, all providing care to someone who depends upon us because of illness, disability, frailty or substance misuse.
* I’ve been a regular attender at my local support group, which meets monthly, making new friends and learning skills of use to me as a carer and as an individual. I’ve also been able to meet other carers from around the county at events and activities Carers Northumberland put on for us.
* I’ve got easy access to a wide range of information resources via their Information Service and know I only have to pick up the phone for someone to find me what I need to know.
* I’ve started guitar lessons, which have given me a new interest and some valuable time to myself that I couldn’t have afforded without the Carer Support Fund.
* I’ve had two photographs published in the 2014 Carers Northumberland calendar, available to every carer registered with the charity – how else would almost 2,000 people get to see the results of my occasional snapping?!
* I was able to nominate my wife’s care-worker Meg for an excellence award, recognising the help she gives me above and beyond her work role.
These are only five highlights from what has been a rewarding, enlightening, sociable and valued period in my life.
Now that I also care for my mother, my time has become even more precious, but spending some of it with Carers Northumberland is still crucial.
Through your pages, I want to tell other carers about the support that’s out there and to thank Carers Northumberland for the difference they’ve made to me. If you’re a carer, call them, you’ll not regret it.
Rowan Court, Belford