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Charity helps Harrogate become a ‘carer-friendly’ community

A Harrogate charity is aiming to create a big stir this week – but it’s all in a good cause.

The Carers’ Resource, based at North Park Road, is asking people to hold a small or large tea party, or donate the cost of a cuppa, to raise money to support its work helping the growing number of people looking after a loved one.

Time Out For Tea is just one of a number of initiatives being staged to mark Carers’ Week. Others include a tea dance on Thursday afternoon (9 June 2106) for carers and the people they care for at St Paul’s Church Hall in Harrogate. It is being organised by Carers’ Time Off, led by dance instructor Sam Lawrence, and funded by Harrogate Lions.

The national awareness week, from Monday, 6 June 2016, is an annual campaign to recognise the UK’s 6.5 million carers who look after an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. This year’s theme is “Building Carer Friendly Communities”.

Around one-in-ten people living in Harrogate and Ripon are carers. Among them is Alan Robinson, who looks after his wife, Alison, who has bipolar. Their eight-year-old son Riddick has autism.

Alan Robinson said:

We can’t be spontaneous. Everything has to be planned, and even then it depends if Alison’s having a good day and a lot is determined by Riddick’s behaviour. He needs structure.

Riddick also has PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) and extreme anxiety.

Alan added:

Life for Riddick is very hard, especially dealing with noisy situations and changes in routine.

He struggles with understanding feelings and empathy with others. When he doesn’t cope, this results in meltdowns and refusals to carry out small demands. Life is often spent treading on eggshells with Riddick as his anxiety is so high.

During the week, staff at the charity’s Harrogate office will be staging drop-in sessions. Visitors will be able to find out about the wide range of support on offer, including advice and help with health issues, information about respite, holidays, transport, social activities or groups, planning for emergencies, and practical solutions for carers with childcare responsibilities or those looking for work, training or courses.

Staff will also be able to advise on how to find the right equipment to make caring easier, as well as support with finding out about and applying for relevant benefits and grants.

  • They will take place on Tuesday 7 June 2016 between 2pm and 4.30pm; and Friday June 10 between 10am and 12.30pm.

Chris Whiley, Director of Carers’ Resource, said:

Every week is Carers Week for us – carers are always at the forefront of our work and our minds in all that we do.

The problem we face is reaching carers at the start of their journey. Anyone can be a carer and it can happen suddenly, at any time, as the result of an accident, a stroke, a diagnosis, or it can happen gradually as a loved one becomes frail or their condition worsens.

Whatever the case, people need to be identified sooner, and realise sooner ‘I’m a carer’ so they can get the right support at the right time – and we’re here to do just that.

And as part of our celebrations we’re urging people to have a brew for carers and take part in our Time Out For Tea fundraising campaign to help more carers get a break.

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