The Carers Festival, Brighton
Did you know that there are 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK – and in Brighton and Hove it is estimated that we have around 25,000 carers that are unsupported.
Brighton and Hove council, along with the Carers Centre and Carers Hub decided to do something about it – and on 12th Jue 2019, the Open Market on London Road in Brighton opened its doors to the first Carers Festival. Created to generate an improved awareness of family and friend members who provide care and to build upon carer friendly communities, it was deemed a huge success.
Some people don’t realise that they are actually carers. In fact, 21 new carers wanted Sussex Partnership NHS trust to inform their GP that they were a carer as they hadn’t realized that this could be done.
Sibling Link was invited to have a stall and we had a very productive day, meeting lots of different people – all with their own stories and needs as either carers or worried family/friends. One thing we noticed was that it was a great thing for those supporting others to be amongst others in the same boat – it alleviated a feeling of isolation.
For us – this peer support and linking together via a common ground, is the purpose behind Sibling Link. To simply realise that you are not on your own can really help a person’s wellbeing.
If you feel supported as a supporter (or carer) then your own wellbeing is nurtured as the stigma is reduced and it may help you to feel less alone.
We met Bella Kirkus who is a carer for her brother. Bella had been making the most of the services on offer especially from Carers Hub https://carershub.co.uk/and said that the support she received was invaluable while she had been caring for her brother through his psychotic illness.
“I’ve had six weeks of free counselling with relate which was really helpful. I’m seeing a life coach through Carers Hub, and I’ve had support with the cost of visiting my brother. The most important thing has been having my own support though. Being the one who is the focus of the support has been life changing”.
Other resources on offer include:
- Helping with your rights as a carer
- Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for Carers – which is free through Carers Hub
- ‘My Health Matters’ also from Carers Hub, a service which provides support to the person you care for whilst you attend your health appointments. You can also use this Service to attend training or courses that will help you in your caring role, such as counselling or first aid training.
If Bella’s story has inpisred to you to ask for support as a carer, please get in touch with any of the following organisations who may well be able to offer the much needed help you and your loved ones need for their physical and mental health.
Carers Centre – providing family carers with emotional support and advice – plus a break too.
Crossroads – providing support for carers
Changes Ahead – providing support for those caring for someone with mental health issues.
Mind – offering aadvice information and support for anyone with mental ill health , or anyone supporting someone with mental ill health.
Allsorts Youth Project – providing a non-judgemental space for children and young people to feel heard, valued and safe.
Pathways to health – A high quality, low-cost ear acupuncture service for people affected by stress, anxiety and depression, mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency, and those living with HIV.