Independent carers groups

Whilst Carers Support Centre facilitates a number of support and activity groups for carers, there are many other local groups that are run independently or supported by other organisations. Here we provide you with a snapshot of what’s out there so you can see if these might suit you.

Most carers groups meet every month and are an important opportunity for peer support and to receive information and advice. You may want to attend a group that meets close to you or a group that’s for carers of someone with a specific disability or long-term condition.

What you can gain from attending a group:
• Meet carers in similar situations for mutual support and ideas on how best to manage your caring role
• A safe place to discuss problems or anything you may want to share with others
• Information on local services and support, including from guest speakers
• Take part in enjoyable activities and social events
• Time away from caring

We collate a list of independent carers groups here. Alternatively, you can call CarersLine for latest details. Many groups are open to all carers to just show up, but it’s recommended you contact the group facilitator to check before you go.

Carers Group and Singalong Group
Our groups are held each month in Frampton Cotterell. The Singalong Group is run by local volunteers and the Carers Group is facilitated by Rona. Carers come along with the person they look after who may have all kinds of conditions, including physical disabilities, dementia and those who have suffered from a stroke. The group is small and informal and there is lots of chatting and sharing, as well as games and a break for tea and biscuits.

The Singalong Group is open to anyone, although many carers and former carers attend. Each month, Carol and Mel who run the sessions choose a different theme. There might be songs from the shows, songs for the different seasons or old favourites. They start each session with a warm-up and some ‘getting to know you’ songs, which are often funny and include actions. Carol and Mel accompany the singing with piano, guitar and ukulele. It’s great fun and everybody who goes along enjoys it enormously. We encourage you to contact us if you would like to come along to either of these groups. You are welcome to try out either and hope that you will like what you see and decide to come back!
– Rona Volkmer

Space for Carers
Come and join us at our friendly, relaxed and free monthly carers group. A break from duties for a couple of hours is often all it takes to “recharge one’s batteries”, whether visiting somewhere of interest or just chatting with friends. In South Bristol, a group of carers meet on a regular basis to relax and chat with others in a similar situation. All being carers, there is an understanding when one of the group is unable to make the meeting, someone feels a bit low, or when something has happened to lift one’s spirits.

The group has a very varied programme of events with guest speakers, getting out and about, or simply sitting and enjoying a cup of coffee and a natter. Over the last two years the group has enjoyed a number of outings including a walk around Bristol Docks, a visit to a garden centre, and a tour of a cheese factory. Centre-based activities have included hand massage techniques, an introduction to mindfulness, cookery demonstrations, diet and nutrition information, and a variety of arts and crafts activities.
– Lesley Allwood-Coppin

Henleaze Group – North Bristol
Our group has been running for 9 years in Henleaze. Over that time, dozens of people have come to the group and found it a great place to relax and meet others in similar positions. It was apparent from quite early on that people’s experiences of caring were very different, so one of the purposes of the group has always been to enable people to share information. We have invited speakers to talk about a variety of issues – health, legal, mobility etc – been for afternoon tea, and pub lunches – and have had theatre trips. In the main, however, the function of the group is to give people an opportunity to share their experiences in a friendly supportive environment. It is not a large group and different kinds of carers come from all over. Coffee, tea and biscuits are always available, and you are welcome to drop in for a while or come for the whole two hours. A warm welcome awaits you. Why not give us a try?
– Monica Rudstone

This article appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of Carers News. Read more news for local carers: download Carers News.