Carer-Connect

Man speaking with unpaid Carers on the online platform Carer Connect
Man speaking with unpaid Carers on the online platform Carer Connect

Carer-Connect

Women connecting with unpaid Carers on the online platform Carer Connect

Charity launches innovative, online forum ‘Carer-Connect’ of support and information for carers and their families.

Carer Support South Lakes has launched an exciting new online forum Carer-Connect, where unpaid carers can connect with each other across Cumbria to get support and information, around the clock.

The charity believes Carer-Connect is the first of its kind for carers in terms of its scope and the way in which carers join the online forum.

Carers are sent login details and are able to access the forum via a user-friendly App or through the charity’s website. Carer Support South Lakes say it brings the traditional carer support model into the 21st century with a holistic approach to providing help, information and connections.

Carer-Connect could benefit an estimated 56,000 unpaid carers in Cumbria, made possible by a grant from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by the National Lottery. The fund supports those most affected by the virus and unpaid carers were identified as a community needing support.

One of five carer support charities in Cumbria, the Kendal-based Carer Support South Lakes provides services and support to 1,350 unpaid carers in South Lakeland, aged between six and 98-years-old. They think that’s a fraction of the number of people who could qualify for support.

Announcing the new initiative ahead of Carer’s Rights Day (Thursday 26 November), the charity’s chief operating officer, Debi Marsden, explains why the timing of this project is so vital:

“COVID-19 has really highlighted the issue of acute social isolation and the importance of support and conversations for carers, which is why Carer-Connect is needed right now.

“Available 24/7, it’s predominantly a social space with professional services and support built in. This safe and moderated online forum is for carers of all ages, with groups for young carers, adult and parent carers and those caring for loved ones with dementia.

“It’s place where people can seek individual support from carers with experience and the charity’s support workers. There are also wellbeing activities, such as yoga and mindfulness sessions, and carers can contribute to campaigns that help inform statutory services.

“Join in the conversation, connect with other Carers and access the information you need you to positively support you in your role as a Carer,” says Debi.

Debi says the online support groups are a safe space for carers to connect regardless of geographical distance, to share their common experiences and provide each other with understanding, encouragement and advice.

“If successful, and if further funding can be secured, it could be extended regionally and hopefully national,” added Debi Marsden.

Carer Support South Lakes hopes Carers Rights Day, and its theme of ‘Know Your Rights’, will help many thousands of people who do not currently identify as a carer. The charity urges carers to better recognise their caring role so that they can get the practical and emotional support they need. That includes a benefits check, finding out about practical support and connecting with others.

Debi Marsden asks people to contact the charity to find out more. Carer Support South Lakes can be contacted via their website, carersupportsouthlakes.org.uk or by calling 01539 815970.

Visit Carer-Connect >

Businesswomen put their best foot forward in aid of unpaid carers

Lakeland Businesswomen's Network Beth Curl
Lakeland Businesswomen's Network Beth Curl
Lakeland Businesswomen's Network

Businesswomen put their best foot forward in aid of unpaid carers

Lakeland Businesswomen's Network

A networking group run by and for businesswomen in South Lakeland is fundraising for the area’s unpaid carers by walking, cycling and running around the Lake District.

Every two years members of the Lakeland Businesswomen’s Network (LBN) nominate a charity to support and until 2021 it’s Carer Support South Lakes (CSSL).

The Kendal-based charity provides services and support to 1,350 unpaid carers in South Lakeland.

The LBN chair, Carole Greenland says it’s incredible to think of carers as young as five, and others in their nineties, caring for loved ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week with many giving up income, education, employment prospects or pension rights to do so.

It seemed an important charity for the women to help, explains Carole, and they set about fundraising through a monthly raffle as part of their meeting raising £246.

But with restrictions to control the pandemic taking their meetings online they came up with a new way to fundraise. In October the LBN launched a new challenge, to walk, run and cycle 250 sponsored miles across the Lake District to raise an additional £250 for CSSL.

The group’s vice chair, Anne Clark, logged the first two miles and soon other members were out – from Kendal Castle and Morecambe Bay to Wastwater, Buttermere and Loweswater.
Between them they’ve clocked up 65.48 miles, raising £105 with more challenges planned.

Mike Seaton from CSSL’s says donations, whether large or small, make a huge difference and will ensure unpaid carers get the support they need.

Anyone wanting to support the LBN’s can visit their JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lakeland-businesswomens-network

For more information about the LBN visit: www.lbn.org.uk/

Don’t forget to get your flu vaccination

Shielding? Get your free flu vaccination
carer support south lakes flu

Flu Vaccination

Shielding? Get your free flu vaccination

Hopefully you will have been called for your flu vaccination this year.

If you usually get your vaccination at your GP surgery the arrangements may have been different this year, but if you haven’t yet been contacted please check their social media or give them a call. You can also have your jab at your local pharmacy.

Deliveries of the vaccine are still underway, so if you haven’t been able to get one please be patient if you have to wait.

The national guidance says if you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person, who may be put at risk if you became ill, you should be offered a free flu vaccination. You should also be offered one if you are receiving Carer’s Allowance. You can read more information here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

Call for unpaid adult carers to tell government what they need

Carer Support South Lakes is urging adult carers to make their views known. Credit nathan-anderson at unsplash
Carer Support South Lakes is urging adult carers to make their views known. Credit esther-ann-glp at unsplash

Call for unpaid adult carers to tell government what they need

Carer Support South Lakes is urging adult carers to make their views known. Credit nathan-anderson at unsplash

Carer Support South Lakes is urging unpaid carers of all ages in the area to speak up about what support they need from government by filling in an online form.

The findings of the survey will help national lobbying body, the Carers Trust, in their campaign to improve future aid for carers.

Mike Seaton from the Kendal based charity, which provides support, guidance and services to 1350 unpaid carers, says the more carers that make their views known, the more powerful the findings will be when presented to government.

Carers Trust want the government to hear what support unpaid carers need to continue in their caring role and what sort of reform of the social care system will support carers most effectively.

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability and mental health problems, or an addiction who cannot cope without their support.

“There are 12,000 unpaid carers across the county looking after loved ones who cannot look after themselves, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They need looking after too,” said Mike.

“It should take less than 10 minutes to complete the online survey which can be found on the home page of carers.org. It closes at 10pm on Sunday 18 October.

“Anyone who is not sure if they are a carer can contact us for an assessment. Being recognised as an unpaid carer opens the doors to lots of support, rights and help.

“We operate from a strength-based approach, looking at what carers are already accomplishing, what support networks they have and then filling in the gaps via a support plan.

“People can phone us on 01539 815970 or email to self-refer or go via their GP.

The Carers Trust survey is now live and will run up to Sunday 18 October at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/carerstrustautumn

Carer Support South Lakes is one of over 120 network partners of The Carers Trust making it the largest one across the UK specialising in the support and wellbeing of unpaid carers.

Incomplete challenge is a success

Eugene and Billy McGee posing before their feat of 100K of the Fundraiser Challenge
Eugene and Billy McGee posing before their feat of 100K of the Cumbrian Way in a day

Incomplete challenge is a success

Brothers raise thousands for Carer Support South Lakes despite retiring from brutal challenge because of injury and exhaustion.

Although Eugene and Billy McGee were unable to complete their first ultra-marathon challenge as an awareness and fundraiser for Carer Support South Lakes, it hasn’t stopped kind-hearted people from making a donation. The brothers have doubled their fundraising target, which currently stands at over £2,200.

Eugene and Billy set off from Dalston on Thursday 3 September but an injury for Billy and exhaustion for Eugene meant they were unable to finish their 24hr, 100k Cumbrian Way challenge.

As Eugene explains:

“Unfortunately we had no option but to throw in the towel at 87km. Billy broke his foot on one of the fells, and he was rushed to Keswick Community Hospital by our support crew. I succumbed to exhaustion at midnight on the side of Coniston about 3km north of the Red Lion.

“Despite this, we’ve had a fantastic response from all our sponsors and the whole experience has still been hugely rewarding.

We’re thrilled with the total we raised and the media coverage, hopefully this will not only help fund CSSL but also go towards increasing awareness of the cause.

“We’re both on the mend and back at work on light duties,” adds Eugene.

The brothers came up with the challenge when their Great North Run, scheduled for September, was postponed.

To find out more about their challenge and why the challenge meant so much to them, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thecumbrianway100k to find out their challenge.

With a second peak in coronaviruses it’s even more important to look after unpaid carers

Carer Support South Lakes CEO Mike Seaton

With a second peak in coronaviruses it’s even more important to look after unpaid carers

As the government announces new restrictions to head off a second peak in coronavirus cases this autumn, charity officials say it’s even more important to look after unpaid carers.

“Carers that look after loved ones, around the clock and unpaid, make an enormous contribution to society,” explains Mike Seaton from Carer Support South Lakes.

“During the pandemic their caring role been made even more difficult as many of the respite and support systems are not available.

“We’ve adapted the way we work and we’re providing one to one support, guidance and information over the phone and doing assessments. Our counselling service is over the phone or via Zoom. And we’ve got lots of online advice too but we know this doesn’t replace the social contact that many carers appreciate alongside a break from their caring duties.”

One young carer who can usually access help from Carers Support South Lakes, is 17-year old Josh Marshall from the Cumbria, Lancashire border. He helps parents Darren and Lisa, look after 15-year-old Jacob who needs constant care because of a rare condition.

Lisa said:

“Over the last six months Jacob has been at home 24/7 and we’ve felt completely forgotten with no activities for Jacob. Jacob’s youth and after-school clubs weren’t open and neither was his school and this was a massive loss to him. Jacob loves contact with others and he’s had none of that. Things have improved with Jacob going back to school.

“It’s also been difficult for Josh, who’s missed out on contact with his peers via residentials and other groups events organised by Carer Support South Lakes, not being possible.

“With the threat of a possible second wave of coronavirus we’re worried that it will impact on us again. Jacob needs continuity, structure, lots of social interaction and we don’t want schools to close again. There are 500,000 unpaid carers in the UK, it’s one of the hardest roles anyone can undertake and extra support and recognition would really help,” added Lisa.

Mike Seaton from Carer Support South Lakes says the charity is working hard to find new ways to deliver their service to the unpaid carers of the South Lakes, such as support groups via Zoom, activity packs for young carers and advice and support on carers wellbeing.

Carer Support South Lakes is an independent charity based in Kendal providing services and support to 1,250 unpaid carers of all ages in South Lakeland.

A carer is anyone who volunteers to look after friends or family who are ill, struggle with disability or addiction and who cannot cope without their support. There are 12,000 unpaid carers across the county, many give up their income, education, employment prospects or pension rights to care for a loved one, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Carer Support South Lakes can be contacted by calling 01539 815970.

Businessman and hotelier James Alexander joins board of trustee at carer’s charity

new CSSL trustee James Alexander

Businessman and hotelier James Alexander joins board of trustee at carer’s charity

new CSSL trustee James Alexander

Carer Support South Lakes welcomes a new trustee to its board, businessman and hotelier James Alexander.

He brings a wealth of experience and contacts that will help move the charity forward at a critical time says its chairman Paul Johnston.

Carer Support South Lakes is an independent charity based in Kendal providing services and support to 1,250 unpaid carers of all ages in South Lakeland.

A carer is anyone who volunteers to look after friends or family who are ill, struggle with disability or addiction and who cannot cope without their support. There are 12,000 unpaid carers across the county, many give up their income, education, employment prospects or pension rights to care for a loved one, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The board of trustees plays a vital role in making sure that the charity is run in the best interests of unpaid carers. It sets the strategic direction, manages performance and has overall responsibility for the governance of the success of the organisation.

Commenting on his appointment, James Alexander said:

“After many years of owning and managing hotels, both in the South Lakes and in Manchester, I am now taking a side-ways step and letting others take the reins. It means I have time aplenty and whilst I have hobbies, I love travelling and spending time in London with our grandchildren, that’s not enough for a once busy person.”

“Over the years I’ve been involved with Cumbria Tourist Board, our hotel consortium, Kendal College and Rugby Club, amongst others. When I was asked to take an interest in Carer Support South Lakes my reaction was, ‘let’s give it a go, it’s helping local people’.”

“Early last year I was invited to sit in as an observer at a board meeting, and I could see that I could in driving this essential local provider to achieve their goals,” explained James.

The appointment means James is now part of a group of seven volunteer non-executive trustees, headed up by chairman Paul Johnston, who bring a wealth of experience and community links.

“I have joined CSSL, or the Carer’s Carer, at a time when the economy is in freefall,” explained James. “Charities are struggling, and local council sponsorship is diminishing. Everything possible needs to be done to ensure our work continues. With my commercial background and my knowledge of local networks, I hope to move mountains by influencing movers and shakers to help.”

“Our big challenge is to keep our local profile in the public domain and by doing this both funding and donations will continue,” said James Alexander.

Chair of the charity Paul Johnston said:

“The energy, knowledge and creativity James bring will help ensure we achieve our bold vision for the future. His skills complement and strengthen an effective and committed board who want to make sure local carers, who quietly and tirelessly look after others unpaid, are also looked after.”

For more information about Carer Support South Lakes visit www.carersupportsouthlakes.org.uk/

100k of the Cumbrian Way in a day for Carer Support South Lakes

Eugene and Billy McGee posing before their feat of 100K of the Cumbrian Way in a day
Eugene and Billy McGee posing before their feat of 100K of the Fundraiser Challenge

100k of the Cumbrian Way in a day for Carer Support South Lakes

TWO brothers are attempting their first ultra-marathon to highlight the plight of key workers, the unpaid carers, and to raise funds for the charity that cares for them, Carer Support South Lakes.

Born and raised in the Lake District, Eugene and Billy McGee will run the 100k Cumbrian Way, from Barrow to Keswick, on Thursday 3rd September. Their challenge has seen supporters pledge £1,141, exceeding their original fundraising target.

Eugene, a tree surgeon, and Billy, a social worker, say running is a relatively recent endeavour, although they’ve always hiked and been into outdoor sports. They took up running to maintain their fitness levels and to help with football training, and find it mentally and physically rewarding.

Building up from 5km runs, they’ve tackled trail running challenges including the Lakeland Trails Coniston marathon (42km) and the Hellvelyn 15km.

As Eugene explains: “As amateur runners at best, this is a huge ask of us but it’s for a cause we feel is underrepresented in mainstream media and society itself; stay at home carers. They’re an invisible work force caring for loved ones at home, unpaid, unheard and often sacrificing their own quality of life.”

“Billy meets many carers as part of his job, the most harrowing cases he sees include children, as young as eight, nine or ten, feeding, bathing and clothing siblings and parents alike. A recent report advised that the average young carer in the UK spends 25 hours a week looking after others in their household, and this equates to a salary of £12,000. Almost 40% of young carers say no one is aware of their responsibilities.”

“We’ve also seen the impact on our dad who’s cared for members of our own family too,” adds Eugene.

The brothers came up with the challenge when their Great North Run, scheduled for September, was postponed.

“As Cumbrians we agree that the Cumbria Way is a rite of passage,” says Eugene, “with arguably some of the best scenery the country has to offer.

“So, we’re substituting it for the GNR. It’s our biggest challenge to date, but with confidence and naivety we are determined to complete it, although we may end up renaming it the Cumbrian Crawl.”

Eugene and Billy have been in training, with gym sessions, cycling, running 5k every other day and long weekend runs. They’ve also been fell running and football training and recently returned from cycling the North Coast 500 route in the Scottish Highlands.

The culmination of their challenge is a celebration event and fundraiser at the Folk Café, Bowness-in-Windermere on Saturday 5 September.

The duo plan to set off from Dalston at 5am on Thursday 3rd September, arriving in Keswick around midday and finishing in Ulverston, via Lowick, around 10pm.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thecumbrianway100k to find out their challenge.

Autumn Ball postponed until 2021

Carer Support South Lakes Charity Autumn Ball table setting
Carer Support South Lakes Charity Autumn Ball MC speaking

Autumn Ball postponed until 2021

Carer Support South Lakes Charity Autumn Ball table setting

Carer Support South Lakes sell-out Autumn Ball, raising funds for local unpaid carers, is being postponed until next year (2021).

Carer Support South Lakes says since 2013 their event has been a successful fundraiser bringing in over £50,000 for carers aged five to 95-years-old.

The Carer’s Carer Ball, held annually at the Castle Green Hotel Ballroom in November, will now take place on Friday 19th November 2021.

The charity’s chief exec, Mike Seaton says over 200 guests attended the 2019 ball and next year’s promises to be even bigger and better. As Mike Seaton explained:

“The Castle Green team and Cumbrian party band The Seals have been fantastic in helping to re-arrange everything.”

“Our fundraising ball is the highlight of our very active year in the South Lakes. The event is hugely supported by the local community and businesses who understand how important carers are.”

“In the past the community have donated amazing prizes, from holidays in Portugal and Spain, and a luxury mobile-home adventure to food and wine hampers and restaurant dinners. All monies raised ensure essential services can continue – including advice and assessment lines, sitting and counselling provision and group sessions,” added Mike.

Carers Support South Lakes, established in 1982 and based in Kendal, is managed by a team of local professionals with help from volunteers from the local community. The charity, the ‘Carer’s Carer’, provides advice, help and services to 1350 unpaid carers.

“There are 12,000 unpaid carers across the county looking after loved ones who cannot look after themselves, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They need looking after so they can support others,” said Mike.

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who is ill, has a disability, mental ill health or an addiction and who cannot cope without their support.

For details of next year’s ball and for more information about Carer Support South Lakes visit www.carersupportsouthlakes.org.uk/

The McGee bro’s Cumbrian Way 100k ultra marathon

The McGee bro’s Cumbrian Way 100k ultra marathon

100k in a day for Carers Support South Lakes because we feel carers are the unheard key workers.

In just under 6 weeks we (Billy and Eugene McGee), will be attempting our first ultra marathon. As amateur runners at best, this is a huge ask but for a cause we feel is underrepresented in mainstream media and society itself; stay at home carers. An invisible work force caring for loved ones at home, unpaid, unheard and often sacrificing their own quality of life.

Carer Support South Lakes is a charity that supports full-time unpaid Carers of all ages from 5 to 95. These individuals go largely unnoticed, tending to slip under the radar because their role keeps them at home, out of sight and therefore, out of mind. There are 12,000 unpaid Carers across the county at home looking after a loved one who cannot look after themselves, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to this it is reported that up to 40% of young carers do not disclose their situation. Many suffer physical and mental ill-health, financial difficulties, loss of freedom, isolation from friends and family and time out of education as a direct result of their caring role. CSSL supports them as they try to navigate the uncertain road before them.

Our run will combine trail running and power hiking to navigate the southern 100k of the Cumbrian Way, reaching altitudes of 1880ft, traversing fells and meandering through the valleys of the Lake District. We will be attempting to complete the mission true to the cut off time of the traditional Cumbrian Way ultra of 27hrs.

Your donation to The Cumbrian Way 100k ultra marathon will help Carer Support South Lakes to continue to offer their regular support services, including Counselling, Sitting Service, Dementia Support Groups and Young Carer activities.

Thank you for helping to make Caring more visible and enhancing the lives of unpaid Carers throughout the South Lakes.

We hugely appreciate any donations and assure you we will be pushing 100% of the way!