Q&A session with Terri-Ann Perkins, Mental Health & Substance Misuse Team Manager at Suffolk Family Carers, a charity providing support for family carers and overall winner at the GSK IMPACT Awards 2019, the first time a charity from the East of England has won the prestigious award.
Can you tell me a little bit of background about Suffolk Family Carers, what do you do, who are the people you support?
Suffolk Family Carers began over 30 years ago to provide information, advice and support to thousands of family carers. Our credible representation of family carers’ needs and our valued work in supporting family carers enables us to campaign on issues that affect family carers to ensure their voice is heard.
We look after carers from the ages of five upwards. These are people who are unpaid and caring for somebody else; they could be a family member or a friend. We have young carers, young adult carers and adult carers. We talk to them and support them – they can ring up and chat to an adviser, and can request a call on a regular basis so that we can assist them in their caring role. We have about 70 staff and then we have around 60-plus volunteers that help us out – we could not function without our volunteers.
What services to you run?
We run courses such as Caring with Confidence and Wellbeing for Me, we also run Navigating the Road to Recovery, which is for carers of those dealing with substance misuse. We also have community connectors that go out to rural areas on our bus. There are some people who have sometimes travelled to another area to meet up with the bus because they don’t want people in their village to know that they’ve got a problem with their caring role. We have a dedicated team that goes in and regularly speaks to schools, and helps staff to identify carers.
We do one-to-ones. We also provide peer support via SAGES, which is Suffolk Advice, Guidance and Emotional Support. We also do moving and handling – we’ve even got a caravan that carers can rent out, so they get a break!
We’ve got an advice line but we’re not a crisis service though, we are here but we’re not 24/7 currently.
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