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Carers' Information Service celebrates Carers Week with special visit from Mayor of Croydon.

The Carers’ Information Service celebrated a fantastic Carers Week at the Carers Support Centre this year. With massage, Pilates and Tai Chi tasters, craft sessions, a well-attended information day with a visit from the mayor, free gifts for carers and much more, it’s clear there’s a lot on offer for Croydon’s carers.

Being a carer can be very tough at times, so it’s important for carers to have time to relax. During the week, Carers Café at the Carers Support Centre gave local carers the opportunity to sit down for a minute and enjoy a free hot drink, free books and newspapers and chat to friendly volunteers or other carers. Over 130 carers visited the café during Carers Week and each one received a free Carers Week mug with tea and biscuits alongside complimentary bath products generously donated by Lush Croydon.

Throughout Carers Week, carers were also treated to a range of health and wellbeing tasters, including Pilates, Tai Chi, dance, craft and massage. Caring can take a toll on your health and stress levels, so it’s vital for carers to take time out to look after themselves and their wellbeing. Here’s what carers who attended the sessions had to say:

“Feel so relaxed now, ready for anything!” (Singing)

“Enjoying this bit of me time.” (Dance)

The massage was much needed, haven’t had one ever. (Massage)

“I enjoyed the Pilates taster session very much today.  I was able to relax away from the stress of being a carer.”  (Pilates)

“Very good instructor, calmed me down… This class was amazing.” (Tai Chi)

As well as looking after their own needs, it’s also very important to get the right information and advice when caring. Many people who look after a friend, relative or neighbour do not realise they are carers and struggle alone without knowing where to turn for help.

The Carers’ Information Day at Fairfield Halls was an opportunity for Croydon’s hidden carers to meet local organisations, find out what support is available and pick up useful information to help them in their caring role. This year, over 300 people attended, including the new Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor. Carers who came to the day said it was ‘really informative’ and found professionals ‘helpful’ and ‘friendly’. It was great to see so many carers making new contacts and finding out new solutions to caring issues. Many organisations who came to the day also gave their support for the Carers Week carer friendly communities campaign, asking Croydon to do more to support carers.

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable week for carers, volunteers and staff at the Carers Support Centre. The challenge now is to ensure that the impact goes beyond a single week and we continue to work towards making Croydon a better place for carers. And what better way to sum up the importance of Carers Week than in the words of one of Croydon’s 34,000 unpaid carers:

“This has been a wonderful week – I’ve had a massage, dance, Tai Chi, Pilates, been given fruit, cake, a lovely mug, bag and beautiful handmade soap. What a treat.”

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