To mark Carers Rights Day on Thursday 23 November, a south coast charity is highlighting the needs and stories of family members who care for loved ones with a learning disability.
Minstead Trust supports over 300 people with learning disabilities, and runs a specialist service for family carers in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
The Trust’s services include supporting and representing Carers at adult social services and health meetings, running a Carers Forum for carers to share views and concerns, and twice-regular drop-in conversations with trained staff. The work of the Carers Forum is focused on signposting participants to relevant services, collective advocacy and working with the local council to identify key issues and solutions.
Sini Lucas, Carers Representation Co-ordinator, said: ‘It’s important to remember that the word ‘carer’ encompasses many roles, and each carer will have different needs. Whether that’s peer support, being listened to or needing help to navigate a complex situation for their family member, we are here to help families work toward getting the outcomes they want for their loved one.’
Helen Head, who cares for her daughter with microcephaly, said: ‘Although the family carers I meet through the Carers Forum are all in different situations, with different needs, we’ve all had a lifetime of caring, so our focus is on finding solutions and ways to work together with the professionals. Sini invites guest speakers to our sessions, for example from the Council, and is great at keeping everyone emotionally level; she really gets it.
‘Having an advocate who knows how things work is invaluable – without her support I’d really feel a lot more lost and alone!’
Carers Rights Day is on Thursday 23 November. Find out more about Minstead Trust’s representation for family carers in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole at www.minsteadtrust.org.uk/carers