Hi again. Welcome to another blog post by Matthew Mckenzie a mental health carer from Lewisham. It has been a while since my last blog post, I guess I have been so busy as of late. Since its the easter holidays I thought it would be a good time to write up a blog post on an event I go to every so often.
As noted in my other past carer blogs. I like to network with other carers in other boroughs of London and one of the best ways to do this is at carer organisations. One of the carer organisations I tend to visit is over in the borough of Lambeth. They usually have carer forums and on the 15th of March 2016, Carers Hub Lambeth held their forum which explored the use of creativity and relaxation for carers.
Before I continue to explain more about the Lambeth Hub Carers forum. What does Carers’Hub Lambeth do?
Off their site which is http://carershub.org.uk/
They are a charity offering services to anyone who provides unpaid care and support, either living in Lambeth or caring for someone in Lambeth.
Carers Hub Lambeth offer a number of services including advice for carers, support groups, they have an equiry line, newsletters and an online resource that being twitter and facebook. They obviously do more, but check out their site for the rest.
So ok, what happened at the forum? as a side note Carers Lambeth Hub usually host around 4 carers forums per year.
The Carers forum was held at We are 336 located on Brixton Road, which is a charity providing office space to Lambeth’s community of disability, older people’s and carers’ charities.
As I entered the building to access the forum. I was greeted by the friendly Lambeth’s Hub reception. The forum and stalls was laid out professionally and quite spacious as well.
I did notice a lot of posters and signs called “Help for Carers”. I was wondering if that was the theme for the forum, however there was an explanation that Crossroads Lambeth would eventually be changing its name.
Networking with carers is very important when attending forums, but also what is important is keeping up to date with the information provided at such forums. This is when I took the time to check out the leaflets and advice booklets at the stalls while having some refreshments and meeting other carers.
Eventually I went into the forum area to check out what was on offer for the 70 carers who turn up to the forum. There was around 5 to 6 tables centered around relaxation, creativity and positive awareness. Some of the tables I noticed were on knitting, painting, poetry and much more.
The agenda for that day was the following.
Table 1: Decoupage Box-Making led by Kathy Shiker (Mary Ward Centre)
Table 2: Painting on Canvas led by Ruth Samual (Help for Carers)
Table 3: Knitting led by Kim Connell (Age UK)
Table 4: Gift Making led y Sandra Hughes (Help for Carers)
Table 5: Express your inner poet led by Francesca Beard (poet)
Then there was a Lunch break
Next was the Relaxation Session
Reflexology by Natasha Kamieison (Carers4Carers)
Chair Massage by Line Marduri (carers4Carers)
Indian Head Massage by Elaine Roberts
Yoga Session by Sematawi Kagemini (Carers4Carers)
Massage by Alisha Humphrey (Carers4Carers)
Manicure also done by (Carers4Carers)
I wanted to try out all the tables, but I eventually ended up on the poetry section along with the Manager of Carers Hub Lambeth. The Poetry table was lead by Francesca Beard who performs poetry and spoken word all over the UK. She has a website which you can check out at http://www.francescabeard.com/
So what sort of activities did us carers get involved in at the poetry section of the forum?
The poetry section explored the following, although this is only a brief summary.
1. We all fed back on what we did this morning.
2. What we liked about ourselves
3. Looked at 5 things we owned and feeding back to the table exploring the positives of what we owned.
4. Participated in a listening exercises
5. Eventually read poetry to the forum as a whole.
I felt the poetry section was very well led and I learnt not only more about myself, but also learnt more about others due to the listening exercise and also hearing about their poetry. We also formed greater connections as several carers had different skill sets and resources we could share within the community. One carer has a cafe where groups are held, while another carer is forming a carers group that can engage with Lambeth Carers Strategy.
Soon it was time for Lunch and we heard from the Crossroads staff about their name change and re-branding from Crossroads Care to Help for Carers. There was a chance to hear from Carers at the forum and I raised if future forums would have speakers and updates from Lambeth Council regarding their Carers Strategy, I also inquired about updates from Lambeth CCG regarding carers since engaging with carers struggling to provide support for their loved ones should be a priority.
Unfortunately I could not stay at the forum to continue with its activities because I had to attend the SLaM community engagement meeting as a Carer Governor, but overall I did enjoy the change of theme regarding the Lambeth’s Carers Hub forum and it perhaps was about time that carers at least get time to be pampered.
I look forward to the next Lambeth Carers forum.