More than six million people in the UK are providing unpaid care for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend.
Caring can be a rich source of satisfaction in people’s lives. But without the right support it can bring ill health, poverty and social isolation.
If you’re a carer who would like support – but finds it difficult to arrange appointments outside the home – Carers Together is an e-mentoring project that could help.
The project is delivered by the national volunteering charity TimeBank in partnership with Carers UK, and already offers face-to-face mentoring support to carers in the Birmingham area.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, says: “Because of the intensive nature of caring, many carers find it difficult to arrange appointments outside the home, so e-mentoring provides an ideal means of emotional and practical support. And it’s available to carers when it’s most convenient for them.”
Mentors are able to share their own experience and techniques that have helped them, and to offer guidance and support through a dedicated and secure web-based messaging site.
Marie cares 24/7 for her daughter and describes how online contact with a mentor is helping her in her caring role:
“I don’t have anyone to talk to about caring. I find it very difficult to confide in family and friends as I feel as if I’m failing in my role or making a fuss. Having someone to talk to has really helped me have an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.”
“Caring does make me feel lonely and isolated. My daughter and I are together 24/7, she is even taught at home by the local authority so there is no respite. We tend to stay at home as she finds going out difficult and it’s just easier to stay in. I definitely feel less alone as there is someone who will listen to me and I won’t be judged.”
If you live in England and would like to be put in touch with an online mentor or volunteer your time to help other carers, contact the Carers Together project on 0121 2362531, email firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look at www.timebank.org.uk/carers-together