Recognising and supporting carers in the community
5 June 2023
Author: Julie Da Costa
Title: CEO, Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston
A carer is a person of any age who provides unpaid care and support to a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, mental health problems, or an addiction cannot manage without help.
Caring for someone is often a 24/7 job which can impact on all areas of a carer's life, both at home and work, affecting both their physical and mental health and well-being.
There are an estimated 15 million unpaid carers across the UK, 4.5 million more due to the coronavirus. By 2031, 3 in 5 people are expected to become carers. Worryingly, of the 18,000 adult carers estimated to live in Richmond, almost 1,000 are thought to be young carers. Young carers are under 18 and assume a level of responsibility that would usually be associated with an adult, impacting their own well-being.
For over 35 years, Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston has been providing high-quality, bespoke home and community respite care and support services to carers and the people they care for, of all ages and disabilities. Our highly trained and experienced care support workers provide essential one-to-one respite in the family home, often looking after the cared-for, which gives carers a vital break from their caring role.
Over the years, we have extended our services and offer, to meet local need. Our bespoke community-based respite projects are tailor-made to support specific groups of carers where they can take a break, relax, have fun, meet like-minded people, and access information and advice through our specialist sessions.
For example, our Saturday Club is for children and young people aged 8-18 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Here, children can take part in a range of activities such as dance, karate and arts and crafts. Not only does this give parent carers a break, but many of the young people with SEND who attend are young carers too. The club is the perfect place for them to take time out from their caring roles and build long-lasting friendships.
Our cafes provide non-judgemental spaces where carers and their cared-for living with dementia can visit for a light lunch, support groups and activities from laughter yoga to musical entertainment. Indeed, our Caring Café was showcased as an example of excellence in the government’s 2008 strategy document, Carers at the heart of 21st century Families and Communities.
Other community projects include our Dads Who Care group which was set up to address the specific needs of male parent carers looking after children with complex health and care needs. One dad told us:
'It’s great to meet friends who understand what it's like without having to fully explain it. I always come home happier.'
We know through our monitoring and feedback that carers typically use their respite break to undertake everyday tasks, such as shopping and attending their own GP appointments, so we extend our offer to include a health and well-being programme. This incorporates a regular book group for mums of children with complex care needs, as well as family and individual massage, yoga and reiki sessions at our beautiful therapy rooms.
For more information about our community projects and our core services, or if you would like to work or volunteer for us or become a friend of Crossroads, visit Crossroads Care website.
Crossroads Care are one of the chosen charities in the 2023/2024 Richmond Voluntary Fund.
Up to: Partner blog 2023
Updated: 5 June 2023