Carers Matter

A major grant from the Nottinghamshire Freemasons is enabling us to offer much-needed support to carers aged 50 years+ of people with learning disabilities through our Carers Matter project.

Supporting carers by helping them to plan for the future, have time for themselves, and meet others facing similar challenges.


Hi, I’m Catherine

I’m the Project Manager for our three-year project to support family carers aged 50+ of people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire.

My personal experience as a carer to my son and my late brother-in-law helps me to understand the issues faced by carers today. I have well-established relationships with many of our clients and their families from my work as Centre Manager at Reach Newark and Reach Mansfield. I help people to see the ‘wood for the trees’ and to plan ahead with confidence. In keeping with Reach’s person-centred ethos, I tailor my support to individual needs, meeting with carers on a one-to-one basis as well as through group socials.

Over the last year I have continued to support over 120 family carers to build confidence as we return to a more normal way of life and to recover from the social isolation caused by multiple lockdowns. Meeting in groups once again has enabled carers to share their experiences and concerns with others in similar situations or just to have a laugh together!

Many family carers are now reporting that anxieties about the rising cost of living are having a real impact,

especially for those relying on state benefits. Right now I am continuing to look for ways to provide support to help people to take more control of their financial futures, including benefit information and applications, Disability Related Expenditure, accommodation needs, preparing for social care assessments, navigating the social care system, problem solving, income and expenditure planning and managing worries.

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

Ways we are supporting carers
photo of carers enjoying coffee and cake together in Mansfield

Creating a community among our carers

catherine on the phone

Signposting carers to other services and support networks

picture of someone with a bunch of flowers and baking a cake

Saying thank you...with flowers and cake!

picture of Catherine zooming with a lot of people

Enabling carers to have their voice heard with local and national statutory bodies

carers sharing a meal together

Clients welcoming family carers for lunch to show their appreciation for all their support

Carers matter Facebook group screen shot

Providing Reach family carers with an informal network including access to a closed Facebook group

Carers Matter Stories

"Every parent’s greatest wish is for their son or daughter to be happy and fulfilled. With the help of Reach, I firmly believe my wish is coming true." - read Sue's story here.

- Sue, family carer to Dominic



"Reach understands the words care and kindness. Frequent contact with Catherine helps me to build relationships with other carers. I look forward to meeting with others and we share experiences and exchange ideas."

– 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



"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, family carer to Sarah

Watch Claire and James's story to find out more about the struggles faced by carers during the pandemic and how we supported them. 

What we did for carers during the pandemic

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.

Catherine on telephone

Signposting to important health messages including vaccine entitlement and changes to restrictions during the first lockdown for people with learning disabilities and their carers

carers on teams

One-to-one video conference calls and regular telephone welfare calls

carers tea

Support with benefit applications and appeals.

Oliver and Christine

Enabling carers to have their voice heard with local and national statutory bodies

carers packs

Delivery of care and wellbeing packs

Carers matter Facebook group screen shot

Created an informal Reach family carers network including access to a closed Facebook group

carers in Southwell gardem

Coffee mornings, garden visits and socially distant walks to bring carers together to share experiences and provide mutual support.

Catherine delivering flowers

Delivery of ‘caring for carers’ flowers and a doorstep chat

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