A dedicated new walk-in information and advice centre led by the Foundation's Carers' Information Service will soon be available to carers in the heart of Croydon's town centre.
Jointly funded by Croydon Council and The Whitgift Foundation, the Carers Support Centre will be located in George Street and offer a diverse range of free activities and services for unpaid carers of all ages.
With an estimated 30,000* carers in Croydon, the centre will provide easier access to support and information on a variety of issues affecting them such as housing, benefits, debt and employment issues, as well as leisure, social and respite activities.
The new centre is expected to open this summer following a complete refurbishment of the building.
There will be meeting rooms and a carers' cafe available to provide space for training sessions, specialist advocacy, individual and group emotional support and surgeries provided by the NHS and Croydon Council services.
The upper floors of the building will provide office space for 12 voluntary organisations who will work in collaboration with each other as part of a wider Carers' Support Network open to all voluntary and non-profit carers organisations in the borough.
A carer is anyone who cares unpaid for a relative or friend. There is no single caring experience, it can be temporary or long term, and it may result in high levels of support being necessary, or just a one-off piece of advice that makes all the difference.
Croydon Council’s cabinet member for adult services and health, Councillor Margaret Mead, said: “This will be 'a one stop shop' for carers, where they will be able to go for the right information from the right organisations.
“Being a carer is a very busy and demanding job, and without their vitally important work, the NHS and other public services would not be able to cope.
“This centre is about helping them and trying to make their lives easier by having all the support they need in one place.
“We have been working hard towards this for some time and are delighted that, in partnership with The Whitgift Foundation, it is going to happen.”
Martin Corney, Clerk to The Whitgift Foundation, said:
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Croydon Council to provide this fantastic new building which will be used by thousands of carers across the Borough. Care in the local community is at the very heart of The Whitgift Foundation's 400 year old mission and we hope this new facility will make a real difference to the lives of carers no matter how big or small."
Helen Thompson, Manager, Carers’ Information Service, said:
“The Carer’s Support Centre will make it much easier for carers to access the support and advice they need to maintain their own health and wellbeing, as well as find the right service at the right time for the situation they are dealing with. By bringing the wealth of expertise available in the borough’s support services into one place, carers will know exactly where they can turn and we can help them to choose the specialist support that best fits their needs. We’re thrilled to be leading this new project alongside our voluntary sector partners and look forward to reaching many more carers in the borough.”