Carers Matter

A major grant from Nottinghamshire Freemasons has enabled us to plan this major project to support carers aged 50 years+ of people with learning disabilities.

Picture of Catherine working at a laptop

I am supporting carers by helping them to plan for the future, have time for themselves, and meet others facing similar challenges

- Catherine, Project Manager

Hi, I’m Catherine
Carers Matter is a three-year project to support family carers of people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire. Many of our family carers tell us they feel isolated and exhausted looking after their family member who is struggling to cope with the current situation.
Right now, there is a very urgent need to address the risk of family carers’ deteriorating mental and physical wellbeing.
Through the project we’re now supporting more than 120 family carers through phone calls, socially distant walks, meeting up online and sharing information through a private Facebook group. I'm looking forward to being able to meet up in small, socially distant groups for a coffee and a catch up later in the year.
Some examples of the type of queries we can help with are support to liase with other agencies, helping people to find out more about their benefits entitlements and other sources of support, help to problem solve and support to think about the future.
I can help with arrangements to create time and space for you to connect with other carers, be somebody to talk to if you're feeling worried and much more. If you or anyone you know is caring for somebody with a learning disability, please do reach out to me any time on 07715 648691 or email me at catherine.shatwell@reachuk.org.

Catherine's signature

Photo of Cheryl

Cheryl's Story

I have been working recently with Cheryl, who lives together in the family home with her daughter Leanne, 24 and her son Ricky, 26, who has Asperger's syndrome. We have been staying in touch throughout the recent lockdown through Zoom calls, phone calls and emails as well as delivering an afternoon tea package and some flowers. Most recently I’ve been supporting Cheryl to arrange urgently needed respite care for Ricky, helping to alleviate pressures at home whilst supporting her to plan for the family’s longer-term future as Ricky transitions into supported living accommodation.
"Catherine is my lifeline and without her and Leanne’s support I would not be able to focus on anything. I have held things in for so long but trusted Catherine to support me and we regularly talk and I know I can ring her if I need to."
– Cheryl, family carer to Ricky

"As Sarah’s dad I don’t always think of myself as a carer. You’re just doing the best you can for your son or daughter from day to day. But getting the right support makes all the difference. Even faced with all the challenges at the moment, you don’t have to be alone."

- Peter

Watch Claire and James's story to find out more about the struggles that carers are facing during the pandemic and how we are supporting them

Supporting Carers through the Coronavirus Crisis

As lockdown progressed, carers were telling us they felt excluded from ‘online society’; that they didn’t know how to use platforms like Zoom so were missing out on vital social opportunities. This was due to lack of knowledge, lack of equipment, internet problems and lack of confidence. For many, speaking to others online felt alien and strange, but activities like our 'Virtual Afternoon Tea' helped to put people at ease and made chatting with others in this way feel more natural.

Photo collage of Reach staff preparing cream teas for delivery to carers

"A surprise packet delivered on my doorstep. A cream tea with a difference…what a thoughtful and wonderful gesture. It’s to thank carers for doing their bit. We are all carers…we should all be caring for one another. Thank you Reach for going the extra mile."

– Steve, family carer to Laura.

"I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Reach who do truly outstanding work across the county. These carers are older people who often lead very lonely lives, devoted to looking after a family member and Reach is there for them."

- Philip Marshall, Head of Nottinghamshire Freemasons

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