Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Association of Carers (AOC) was set up in 1987 by a small group of Carers and health professionals who identified the need for Carers in the Hastings area to receive a free regular break from their caring role in order to stay mentally and physically well and enjoy a life outside of their caring role.
They currently:
-Work with over 150 volunteers to provide three services to around 300 unpaid Carers each year in East Sussex
-Support Carers learn how to use their computer in ways that will support them in their caring role

-Give opportunities for Carers' to have time to themself, volunteers building a long-term befriending relationship with cared for person
-Offer services free of charge

A carer is somebody who provides regular unpaid support to somebody who could not manage life without that help, this could be a friend, family member spouse or partner.

Many Carers are socially isolated and they can find it difficult to talk to family and friends about their caring role.

There are over 62,000 Carers in East Sussex, making up one of the most isolated groups in the county.

The carers telephone support service will support carers by matching them with a trained and checked volunteer, who will call them regularly for a period of six months, giving carers the opportunity to discuss their caring role in confidence, over the telephone. The calls will happen at a time that suits them e.g. evenings and weekends.

These volunteers will also be able to signpost the carer on to additional support if necessary. If the Carer needs professional counselling, the Charity can refer the carer for Telephone Counselling, which will also be funded by the service.

The service would be able to support Carers during a time of loss, maybe because the person they looked after has passed away or has moved into permanent care. Having somebody to talk to over this period can prove to be invaluable for the carer at this time.

This service would benefit Carers Health and well-being by:
• Carers supported with a confidential long-term befriending relationship that encourages sharing of thoughts/feelings
-Bereaved Carers supported through the process of bereavement
-Regular emotional support and long-term befriending relationships
-Reduction in stress/isolation of both carer and volunteer
-Improved mental well being and confidence
-Signposting/referral to additional support
-Former Carers are able to volunteer and receive training and social interaction
-The Charity promotes opportunities for Carers and volunteers to get together via our quarterly newsletter. E.g. Carers Voices groups, Volunteer training, Events, Dementia Supper Clubs etc.

The charity will recruit, train and support people who are, or who have been carers, to the telephone support voluntary role. These volunteers will be able to empathise with the and can also give the volunteer a new sense of purpose when their own caring role has ended. This volunteer role is also suitable for people who have a disability, as they are able to volunteer from their own home environment.
Following a referral to the AOC the Carer is contacted by telephone to carry out an assessment. This is conducted in a relaxed, friendly manner gathering valuable information/insight into the Carers emotional well being and likes/dislikes and interests.
The telephone support calls are made at a time that suits the Carer (between 8am and 9pm, Monday to Sunday)
The charity respect a Carers right to choose the frequency of the telephone calls and change that frequency if they wish
The charity has experience of getting and using Carers feedback to shape and develop services, e.g., Carers Partnership Board wanted former Carers to have a volunteering role where they could share their experiences with other Carers, the telephone support services was developed to enable this

Association of Carers

Moment of Pride

The service has been running for 4 years and Carers feedback how much benefit they gain by having somebody independent to discuss their caring role with in confidence. Former carers are encouraged to volunteer.
With current funding coming to an end the Charity is keen that the support continues.

Location: East Sussex, UK