Everyone supports one another by listening without judgement

Tara Belcher and Tracy Wilkinson of After Umbrage have been continuing their mini tour around the carer hubs arranged by the Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk (CTCPN) with funding from The Big Lottery Fund. This month the lovely Gemma Whitehouse hosted her group in the Cambridgeshire town of Ramsey. We went along to meet the carers, to tell them about After Umbrage and the free breaks carers can enjoy with us and had a chat about wellbeing.

Ramsey Carers Trust Group April 2018

We are always given a very warm welcome – it comes naturally to everyone in the room.

The group brings together people who are experiencing the harsh reality of being a carer – the loneliness and isolation, the frustration and resentment at times, the unconditional love and patience. It is so understandable when you consider the loss of a way of life that used to be – one that was less complicated and not full of hospital visits and appointments, one that was less messy, less arduous and problematic.

Everyone supports one another by listening, without judgement. Not an easy skill. But it is what is valued, needed and appreciated by all the attendees who show resilience in abundance though they might not know it.

What we can do is bring a new topic for discussion, something to trigger a story to be shared, a feeling to be expressed or a frustration to be aired. We hope the offer of a free break in the lovely Kingham Cottage gives them a little something to plan and look forward to. As many of our beneficiaries say, a visit to our tranquil cottage helps them unwind, recharge and refresh. It helps them return to their daily caring duties with a renewed energy with the emotional support that Kingham provides and remains in the memories of all those who visit, long after their stay.

In the words of Keith Cheshire, on of our beneficiaries, “It’s not a holiday cottage, it is more like home – warming, comfortable and relaxed. It’s like it takes a weight off your shoulders by being there. It’s quiet and it melts your worries away. And that feeling lingers for quite a while – we are still talking about it today.”

You can read Keith’s full story here.

We thank The Carers Trust for inviting After Umbrage to meet the carers they help in both practical and emotionally supportive ways. Our visit helps us raise awareness of our work and of Kingham Cottage which is available for carers for a free holiday break. We were delighted that so many of the group signed up to receive copies of our monthly newsletter as this is our way of reaching as many carers in the UK as we can – our mission if you like. Every share of this article and every mention of After Umbrage helps us achieve our goal of providing short breaks for anyone who has been looking after family members or loved ones with a life limiting condition. We would also like to express our deepest condolences by offering breaks to carers within their first 12 months of bereavement. The pressure associated with caring can be overwhelming. After Umbrage provides a chance for carers to take time out to relax and unwind in idyllic surroundings, so they can return to their caring duties rejuvenated.

The team who met at Ramsey: Tara Belcher (After Umbrage), Tracy Wilkinson (After Umbrage), Nicola Warrington (CTCPN), Gemma Whitehouse (CTCPN) and Richard Cross (CTCPN) at Ramsey’s Carer Hub Meeting in April