Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to bring caring right out into the open – recognising and celebrating the contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK. Although we couldn’t meet up as normal this year, we had a week of virtual events, including socials, wellbeing workshops and learning events.We were pleased to work with a number of excellent local organisations to offer exclusive content just for our carers.

Our Dementia Team held a Q&A alongside a Dementia Advisor and Support Worker from the Alzheimer’s Society. Our Mental Health and Learning Disability Teams held ‘Meet the Team’ sessions, and gave Carers the opportunity to sign up for 1-on-1 slots.

It was a great opportunity to meet the Mental Health Carers Team as I was not aware that there was a team specifically for Mental Health Carers. It is great to know who to contact for support.

Sage House is a bespoke, modern and functional community centre, where people can access the most up to date support, information and advice, run by local charity Dementia Support. They offered a series of workshops for dementia carers, including a Q&A, a session on having difficult conversations with a loved one with dementia, a workshop on using reminiscence techniques, a class exploring meaningful occupation and exercises, and a self-care session.

I liked sharing with others, learning new ways of coping and ideas of how to keep your loved one feeling good about themselves

Esther Walker, Carers Lead and Nurse Practitioner, spoke about the role of a hospice in supporting carers and looking after someone who is coming towards the end of their life. This gave carers an opportunity to explore who is referred to a Hospice, what services a Hospice provides and the right time for a referral to be made.

It came at the right time for me personally. The information was clear and just what I needed. My question was answered fully and it was good to hear other peoples comments.

Impact Iniatives offered Employment Expert Virtual Drop-in sessions, giving carers a chance to ask questions about work, training or education. West Sussex Mind delivered Resilience training aimed at Parent Carers, helping them to build up a collection of tools and skills to cope better with stress, anxiety, relationship issues, social pressures, and difficult emotions like anger and fear.

Michelle brought the concepts to life and then it was easy to see how I could translate so many of the techniques practically into my life!

Carers’ life coach Christine Edge delivered a ‘Self-care is more than a bubble bath’ webinar to give carers five simple strategies to help take time out for self-care.

I wanted to say how excellent it was, and very much needed, after a particularly difficult week. Christine was friendly and engaging, and I couldn’t help but warm to her. The tips she shared were useful and practical. Having arrived at the session frazzled and worn down, I couldn’t imagine walking away after an hour feeling considerably calmer and far less worried and stressed. But I did!

Aspire Sussex offered carers a free beginners Pilate session, giving them the chance to participate in a gentle exercise routine to encourage strength and balance whilst alleviating stress and tension. Bernie, a British Wheel of Yoga trained Hatha teacher, a Yin Yoga teacher and a Reiki Master teacher, lead a yoga session open to all carers and suitable for beginners, encouraging them to carers to stop and take some time out to relax and focus on their own health and wellbeing.

Any event where someone cares for a carer is good for my soul. Anyway I had never done
yoga before….ever. I’m overweight and unfit and unsupple but it included me to understand more about yoga for the first time. Bernie was great. Clear, thorough and concise.

Chichester Festival Theatre ran two sessions for our carers, focusing on creativity and wellbeing. Their Drama for Mindfulness workshop combined drama techniques with mindfulness practice, helping create moments of calm and reflection to overcome challenges. They also ran a creative writing session, using simple creative exercises to help carers compose their own poems (a few of which you can read here).

Thank you – I really enjoyed composing it… it’s my first poem. Thanks for running such a great workshop too! I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day yesterday.

Local artist Kate Tugwell held a portraiture workshop, teaching carers how to draw a realistic face.

A complete non-artist like me ended up with a drawn face! And I would have the knowledge to try again. It was very relaxing too. Loved it.

Nutritionist Sue Crabtree held an Affordable and Kind Nutrition for Carers talk, giving practical advice on foods to boost your moods and also to help with reducing anxiety. We also had two cookery demos from Community Chef Robin van Cleveld, showing carers how to prepare tartin and white fish tacos.

It was great to see both the demonstrators faces and what they were preparing/cooking. I loved the helpful information.

It was a fantastic week, and we’d like to thank our partners for helping us put together such a diverse range of events for our carers.