‘Be Carer Aware’
What is a ‘Carer’? A ‘Carer’ is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to physical or mental illness, a disability, or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Caring can be very rewarding and fulfilling, and many people do not see themselves as a Carer but as a family member or friend. However, being a Carer can have a personal impact and consequence on a Carer’s life: their health and wellbeing, relationships, employment and finances can be affected. For some, it isn’t always easy or enjoyable. Many carers also report feelings of isolation and, at times, anxiety. Caring can be a 24/7 ‘job’. And, at some point during our lifetime, many of us are likely to become a Carer.
The good news is that there is support out there. One such voluntary organisation is Credu (formerly Powys Carers Service – PCS), a registered charity. Credu is one of the leading services for carers and has been serving carers from 8-80+ years old since 2004. ‘Credu’ is the Welsh word for ‘ believe’ and Credu believes that all people are important. Credu considers every Carer to be a unique individual and responds to them and their situation by providing the support they need.
Credu has enjoyed a great reputation for putting carers at the center of services and for being innovative and creative. In Powys, Credu currently supports more than 3000 Carers. Two years ago, Credu was awarded a contract to support young carers in Wrexham, Conwy and Denbeighshire (WCD Young Carers). Credu now supports more than 500 young carers in these additional regions.
Credu has specialist teams and projects focusing on supporting young carers, young adult carers and adult carers. They provide support in many ways. There is One to One Support which includes befriending, mentoring, advocacy, counseling, information / advice, benefits advice, respite provision and coaching to enhance personal development.
Many Groups meet throughout Powys, with local groups in Llandrindod and Builth Wells for both young carers and adult carers. They provide peer and social support, skills development, training and awareness raising, trips and regular ‘drop in’ sessions. They also provide that much needed ‘time for me’.
Credu works with carers to influence local and national policy on public services including schools & colleges, employment, health, social care and respite services. Credu also provides the public with information and raises awareness on specific matters of interest relating to carers. Additionally, Credu works directly with the public sector, government & community organisations and private business.
There are currently information hubs and a shop in Brecon and Machynlleth as well as the main office and hub in Llandrindod Wells. Credu works to build community connections. By learning about the local communities and networks, they can connect carers to opportunities in which they can express their skills and interests and, where it is helpful, provide support in doing this.
Demand for Credu’s services is growing rapidly, and there is something you can do to help Credu help carers. In Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels Jesus tells a teacher of the law that the second most important commandment is to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ and, in Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. He identifies the neighbour as the one who is kind to the injured man. In 1 John 2:18 it says, ‘My children, our love should not just be words and talk; it must be true love that shows itself in action’.
Now is your chance for action: Be Carer Aware. Pledge to show your love for your neighbour with an action this Carers Week. If you have a neighbor who is a Carer: let them know what is going on in your parish, services and social events; offer them help to get there; offer them help by sitting with the cared for so that the Carer can attend an event; offer to get some shopping for them or do a bit of gardening; or just sit with them and chat over a cuppa and find out what help they need.
You could also help by becoming a volunteer. There are different and interesting ways you can get involved: directly supporting carers; administration; fundraising; supporting young carers groups; volunteer drivers to support activities and trips; domestic maintenance and gardening; mentoring and befriending; hub activities; shop assistant; public relations and communication.
The organisation has an active and friendly group of trustee who are always looking for like-minded people to join them. They are currently looking for a treasurer.
Often people do not access support services until they reach crisis point. Don’t let your neighbour get that far. You could let them know what Credu does for carers. The main office is currently staffed from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday and all enquiries can be made by contacting them on 01597 823800 or visit Credu’s website Credu www.credu.cymru.
May we all remember Jesus’ words, ‘Whatever you do to others you do to me’ and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’.