It was time for tea for 30 unpaid Elmbridge carers on Tuesday 7th June, as they enjoyed sweet treats at Garsons of Esher during Carers Week. The event was organised jointly by Garsons and Carer Support Elmbridge, the garden centre's nominated charity for 2016, to give local carers a chance to enjoy some well-earned time to themselves.
The group was treated to afternoon tea in Garsons Restaurant, which was officially opened earlier this year, where the carers were able to socialise with others in similar positions. Ben Thompson, director at Garsons, said: "It was a pleasure to host so many people with Carer Support Elmbridge today, and we really hope they all enjoyed the afternoon as much as we enjoyed meeting everyone. Working with local charities like this is very important to Garsons, and it's particularly rewarding for us to see first-hand how our support makes a difference."
Carer Support Elmbridge provides advocacy, general information and help to 2,500 unpaid carers in the borough, and says it is extremely grateful to Garsons for putting on the event. "Quite often you will find when someone is caring for someone, they forget to look after themselves," explains Jenny Pearman, events organiser and administrator at Carer Support Elmbridge. "We are here to support them by ensuring that they get access to respite, days out and social events to meet other carers and training that can empower their confidence."
The Walton-based charity is facing budget cuts in the future and Jenny explains that the support of local businesses like Garsons is crucial to the continued provision of its invaluable services. As well as the carers' tea, Garsons will continue to raise funds and awareness for Carer Support Elmbridge throughout the year, with collection tins at the tills and donations of stock for events. Jenny hopes the partnership might also help uncover 'hidden carers' in the local area who may not be aware of the services that Carer Support Elmbridge can offer them. "Many people who are caring for someone do not realise how important their role is in that person's life," Jenny adds. "We're here to help support those who are supporting others."
The afternoon tea at Garsons coincided with Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make every day. This year the campaign focus is building Carer Friendly Communities, where carers feel supported to look after their loved ones and are still recognised as individuals with needs of their own. Everyone can help this aim by recommending organisations and services such as Carer Support Elmbridge that can provide support with their caring role. Jenny adds: "If you are aware of a carer, you could introduce yourself to them and let them know you are there if they need help."
About Carer Support Elmbridge
Carer Support Elmbridge is a charity supporting unpaid carers, who may care for a relative, friend or neighbour. It is completely independent of the statutory agencies. Its three Carer Support & Advocacy Workers are able to offer advocacy, general information, help in obtaining services, home visits, support groups, a listening ear and training opportunities.