What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?


Nobody would ever know

Logan appears like any other youngster on the cusp of his teenage years. Nobody can see the mental scars of relentless chemo and strong steroids. It was a toxic mixture and he spent 18 months in a wheelchair because he was so weak. He seemed dead with the treatments and it has severely affected his mental health.

Sue and Logan’s story

Logon running with Blue his whippet

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

‘My life is on hold’

“I had a life before becoming a carer but now my life is on hold”, said Mona from Birmingham about her role as an unpaid carer for her father, Richard. Both Mona’s parents were diagnosed with dementia in 2017 and she made some big choices.

I didn’t realise I was a carer

When Mona’s parents returned to the UK from their native country, Jamaica, it was clear her Mum was experiencing mobility problems. There were challenges faced with living in a different country too – simple everyday things such as getting the bus, going to the bank. So, in 2017 Mona sold her house and moved in with her parents to care for them and to help them adjust to life here in the UK.

Mona’s story

Mona stays at Kingham Cottage for a break from caring

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

‘I hate the word Dementia’

Anthony from Manchester is the main carer for his Mother, Margaret who has vascular dementia. He says, “I hate the word Dementia”. It is a cruel disease. His Mum often says, “I have this thing in my head.” Pointing to her head, she knows something is wrong.

Anthony and his siblings don’t want his Mum to be alone so there is a family rota to ensure this. His siblings – those that live nearby – try to cover a day each and Anthony spends Sundays and Mondays with her. He also calls in to see his Mum during the week. He tries to give her a sense of independence although taking her to collect her pension and pay her bills is difficult. Using the cash point is no longer an option. Anthony helps her with this week in, week out.

This is Anthony’s story

Anthony from Manchester is the main carer for his Mother, Margaret who has vascular dementia. He says, “I hate the word Dementia”. It is a cruel disease. His Mum often says, “I have this thing in my head.” Pointing to her head, she knows something is wrong.

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

‘Toni relies on us for all her needs. She smiles a lot.’

We pool all our financial resources in Toni’s direction, so we were delighted when Bluebell Wood told us about After Umbrage. Reluctant at first to travel so far from Doncaster, knowing Toni was happy at Bluebell Wood gave us ‘permission’ to relax and enjoy a break. Toni gets fed up with us too from time to time you know!

This is Keith’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

‘If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done’

Jane and her son, Louis, who is 15 years old, are from Paignton, Devon. He has high functioning autism (used to be called Aspergers), ADHD, anxiety, and OCD. She talks to us about her life as an unpaid carer and how she loved her stay at Kingham Cottage this Spring.

Jane is very matter-of-fact and real about her role as a mother and unpaid carer. ‘If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.’ This is her ethos and she leads a very busy life. Always on the go. Her escape is wild swimming. As she lives by the sea she loves a dip in the early morning or in the evening.

This is Jane’s story

Jane and her son Louis who has autism

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

It broke my heart

Sharon’s daughter Sarah, 30, lost her beautiful thick dark hair, her eyebrows and her lashes. I remember driving her home one day after another bout of chemo and she was sobbing. She asked, “Who would ever want a girlfriend with one boob and no hair, eyebrows or lashes?” It broke my heart.

I plodded on emotionally, physically, mentally and financially drained.

This is Sharon’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

My Name is … a window into life as a carer

This is rather beautiful. It is a story with a difference. It is a story of being a Mum, a carer and a wife. And it is a poem.

Hannah Roberts has captured the emotional side of caring for Elijah, her son who is now one year old. Pictured here is Hannah, her husband, James, and her 4 year old daughter Maddie.

This is Hannah’s poem

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

Dear After Umbrage, love Sara

As a small charity, we cherish letters from our beneficiaries. We love thank you cards too. This letter, ‘Dear After Umbrage, love Sara’ is rather special. It is a heartwarming, honest, and vulnerable account of being an unpaid carer. Sara Bailey and her family have booked a stay at Kingham Cottage later this year. Sara wants to give readers an insight into her story. She’s a candid writer and these are her words.

This is Sara’s story 

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four


What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

Take a Break Magazine features Theo

Denise Singh-Eyley and her lovely family were featured in Take a Break, the weekly women’s magazine. In a letter from the heart, Denise told the story of her sixth son called Theo. He was only 2lb 2oz when he was born. But Theo is a fighter and he defied the odds. We are proud to call Denise and her husband, Michael beneficiaries, and even more so when she agreed to an interview with a journalist called Kim Gregory. Together they created the article in Take a Break Magazine.


This is Theo’s story

Stories of our beneficiaries

Family Time Together

For unpaid carers a night of unbroken sleep is a rare treat. Also rare is a day without a schedule of administering medication, using specialist equipment such as hoists, lifting and pushing wheelchairs, and providing nourishment, sometimes in the form of specialist feeds for tube-fed loved ones. That said, probably what is missed the most is family time together, without the responsibilities of caring. It is a rare simple pleasure. This is the story of Louise and her family who have visited our cottage twice now. Their family time together whilst at Kingham Cottage was their most treasured takeaway.

Louise and her husband, Rob have three children, two sons, and their daughter.

This is Louise’s story 

unbroken sleep whilst at Kingham Cottage

Drawn like a magnet to After Umbrage

Atiq Hassan felt pulled towards After Umbrage. ‘It is because the charity understands that caring for a loved one is very emotional and difficult’, he said. ‘I was drawn to After Umbrage like a magnet.’ ‘Our stay at Kingham Cottage was wonderful.’

Atiq, originally from Karachi, Pakistan is a registered carer for his daughter who is now 25. Five years ago, from out of the blue, his daughter was suddenly hospitalised. She experienced what can only be described as a mental meltdown. Consultants and psychotherapists attended her but, unfortunately, had no explanation as to why. Why then? Why her? Sadly, his daughter remains very ill. Consequently, she needs one to one care.

This is Atiq’s story 

Drawn like a magnet to After Umbrage

Thrilled to stay at Kingham Cottage

Suzy Piazza and her family are one of over 160 carer families who have visited Kingham Cottage. She captures her thoughts to share with other carer families who are coming to stay. “This year has been particularly hard on everyone all over the world”, she says. “Many carers have lived with the fear of their vulnerable loved one catching Coronavirus. And the very strange world of lockdown – which by its very nature cut us off from any outside family support.”

“Sadly, and totally unexpectedly for us, my Daughter in Law’s mother died of Coronavirus on the 27th March 2020. It was after lockdown had begun so we were unable to support or help in any way. No hugs, only words of support from afar.”

This is Suzy’s story 

Thrilled to stay at Kingham Cottage

Caring for our daughter with an ultra-rare condition

Emma and Jon Thompson are beneficiaries of After Umbrage from Newton Upon Derwent, near York. Here we hear Emma’s story, about caring for their daughter with an ultra-rare condition, in her own words. Resilience and honesty leap off the page.

“Parenthood is a journey many enter into with a preconceived idea of how it will play out. We have a destination in mind for our family. However, the birth of our 3rd child, Ellouise (now aged 4) changed all of this.

This is Emma’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

An emotional road

Alison Bancroft who lives in New Bradwell in Milton Keynes, shares with us, in her own words, what her struggles were caring for her Mum called Dorothy, a Lancashire lass at heart. Guilt, exhaustion, and pleasure are all part of the emotional road she traveled along.

Hi, my name is Alison. I first heard about Kingham Cottage via Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes where my Mum was receiving help. One of the support staff there had heard that I had other personal and health problems at the same time as looking after my Mum. So she suggested I contact After Umbrage to see if it was possible to get a short break.

This is Alison’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

Sarah tells her personal Harry Potter story

Sarah Potter, from Suffolk, lost her father to lung cancer in 2018 after he’d made a full recovery from oesophageal just two years earlier.

Through her work at Suffolk Family Carers, she heard of After Umbrage and Kingham Cottage and enjoyed a stay there in late November 2019. She stayed with her Mum, Glynys, sister Georgia and brother, Kristopher.

Sarah says, “This was really special because not only was the break wonderful, but Mum and Dad had visited the Bath Christmas Market on a train trip a few years before.”

Sarah’s story – part one.

Sarah’s story – part two.

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

Maggie says her greatest joy is that Daniel has grown to be a polite and creative young man, facing life bravely and cheerfully

Daniel Raja was born with only half a functioning heart and other complications. The condition is called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Maggie, his mother, and her late husband, Peterus, were living and working in Borneo at the time. They flew back to the UK with a medical escort when he was only three months old. They were bound for Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, and life-saving surgery on bypass. Daniel survived the long-haul journey and a challenging time in the ICU. But their lives were irrevocably changed.

This is Maggie’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

Andre gave up his career, lifestyle, and ambitions to care for his parents

Andre cared initially for his disabled Dad, and in recent years since his death, he’s cared for his Mum. ‘She is my angel and the most precious thing in my life,’ says Andre.

Stories such as Andre’s need to be told to give unpaid carers a louder voice and to help bring our community of carers together – not physically as that’s challenging with beneficiaries from Doncaster to Diss and Glasgow to Gloucester – but virtually, through the written word.

This is Andre’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

We chat to Alec’s Mum, Rachel

Alec is eight years old and has a rare form of muscle degenerating disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Just like boys his age, he loves Lego and recently had the opportunity to make a Lego movie playing outdoors and visiting lots of different places for days out. Although, Rachel, his Mum, is ‘not allowed to take him to the same place twice.’ His Dad, Roy takes him to school every morning and Rachel collects him.

This is Alec’s story

What prompted you to set up After Umbrage?

In conversation with Keith, one of our early beneficiaries

Toni is 24 and has complex needs and relies on us for all her needs. She still looks like a child, she can’t walk or talk and needs a wheelchair. She is immune suppressed, an uncommon problem whereby she is prone to infection and so has weekly boosts of haemoglobin where we pump two needles into her thigh for a 50-minute process.

She takes all this and more in her stride.

This is Keith’s story.