A Great Get Together.

When is the last time you got had a get together?

There is no hiding, anyone can get lonely. New parents, children, cared for young people, older people, retired, self employed, bereaved or carers can become chronically lonely and it’s one sure way to become enveloped by a wave of depression. I have had bouts of loneliness while being a new mum, being a childminder and after a fantastically, spectacular bout of depression.

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You can be someone else’s life line too.

The isolation that comes with having a baby can knock a persons life totally off kilter www.huffingtonpost.mums-feel-lonely Loneliness hits the eldery it really hits hard on health www.campaigntoendloneliness.org However, Young adults are more likely to feel lonely than older age groups, says a study from the Office for National Statistics. The research found that almost 10% of people aged 16 to 24 were “always or often” lonely – the highest proportion of any age group.bbc.co.uk/news/education

This isn’t “Just Pull Your Sock’s up”

I have sustained myself and avoid loneliness only because I have learnt how. It takes a bit of courage to ask for help and wait. It started small, a cuppa with neighbours who offered, asking those I trusted for dinner, one a week at least. I joined online groups and forums and found I wasn’t alone in many of my struggles. I found places to go where I felt safe, these are often libraries and coffee shops. I found where routine had often made me feel bored and hemmed as a teen I now found it comforting, Even micro moments with people I pass on the street has become predictable, tiny connections with others, proving I am visible and not alone. Slowly I felt better because I was more confident that I am enough.

A really good way to get out and be amongst things happening around you this time of year is The Great Get Together

What’s the problem?

There are pockets of excellence , perhaps these skew the average across the UK’s services, but it’s the foundation of these that need to be looked at and formulated into what is basically a product to share between and across services to enable communities to thrive. I suspect it is where there is good linkedin care, carers passports, communication between social services, NHS and education within county, between cases, within timelines that don’t impede the health and success of the “service user”.

Where the services have been able to collect honest feedback and been able to improve one area without neglecting others. That can happen right? It’s not just an imaginary ideal where the lived experience isn’t totally alien to the professionals. Where the professional is supported within a safety net of their own, a sensible workload given and job security, enabling an amount of professional vulnerability and ability to have prolonged human contact in their role with honest dialogue and co production of care. Imagine that.

I honestly think if the services worked better together and more for the people within them than for targets, the communities needed to help lessen the load of loneliness would form naturally with less need for funding.

Have your Say!

If you have had a naff time or an awesome experience, it could make a difference to how the service is run in the future, which would be great, like not taking people off WellBeing waiting lists if they haven’t responded to a call or email!

www.norfolk.gov.uk//have-your-say/compliments-and-complaints

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Carers Week

How many people that I know, know that I’m a carer? Probably not many, I didn’t know I could be for a long time and really struggled for different systems cogs to get in the right gear.

I’m a parent, of a young man who we like to say is a bit EXTRA, non full time table, non mainstream school and a few other things in the mix. Business in Art and illustration will come second for a few years longer, I’m doing what I need to do all in my own pace, it’s IMAG2878my choice. Some Carers don’t get that choice.

A carer is someone who is thrown in at the deep end. Often it’s a spouse, often it’s grown ups. It can also be young people too. There are an estimated 700,000 children and young people across the UK, some as young as five-years-old, who are caring for family members. Research* shows this is a conservative figure as many are hidden from view. Which I almost didn’t mention because it’s sad, but for me that’s what is important this week, pointing out that it’s not fair and it’s not pretty but there are good things that can be done.

The Benjamin Foundation runs regular young carers’ groups around the Norfolk. Young people need to be able to hang out and have a laugh in a safe place with out their extra adult responsibilities. These groups are people who really understand what they are going through, it allows young carers to share their concerns with and to seek help for any problems they may be having. To just be themselves.

A while ago I took part in a closed group webinar focused on adult carers tools for well being, Through the NHS wellbeing service. There are  webinars to introduce  Learning, Work and Wellbeing Toolkit for young adult carers like this one www.learningandwork.org.uk/events/webinar-positive-career-choices/  To help support them to achieve the same level of success in education and employment as their peers.

Have become a carer? Know you aren’t alone, you don’t have to be lonely, you can still be you. If you think you might be eligible to be a carer but no ones pointed it out, get a cuppa and look at gov.uk/carers-allowance 

If you want to get involved with helping to support The Benjamin Foundation they have a verity of fund raisers, volunteer placements, or absolutely brilliant pre loved furniture stores! Or perhaps The Butterfly Treasure hunt, A fun trail around Norwich to support The Benjamin Foundation, finishing with a gourmet BBQ in the beautiful Rooftop Gardens.  @benjaminfoundation.co.uk 

Here are some other useful links to learn about and get involved with Carers week

www.carersweek.org

www.carersuk.org

www.greatgettogether.org

* carers.org/press-release/new-figures-reveal-life-chances-uks-young-carers-are-under-threat