Vital Day Club services supporting carers across Gloucestershire are beginning to resume after being forced to close due to Covid-19.
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire’s key day services supporting people with all types of needs and health conditions have restarted in Daglingworth with additional new venues due to follow across the county in the coming weeks.
The first new venue to open hosting the charity’s day services is Daglingworth Village Hall, just 10 miles from Stroud. Officially approved by an infection control nurse prior to opening to ensure safety, the Village Hall has full disabled access and a fully functional kitchen where Crossroads Care Gloucestershire’s volunteer cook prepares and cooks a two-course hot, nutritional lunch for attendees.
Day Club services run from 10am-3pm, with a range of activities taking place throughout the day and the charity can arrange transport to and from Daglingworth for attendees. Everyone is Covid tested prior to arrival and Crossroads Care Gloucestershire staff are fully trained to support people with everything from personal care to mobility issues and long-term conditions including dementia.
A recent report from Carers UK highlighted that as many as 79 per cent of carers in the UK have not been able to take any, or sufficient, breaks during the Covid-19 pandemic with 74 per cent reporting feeling exhausted and worn out. Just being able to have a few hours respite whilst those they are caring for attend one of Crossroads Care Gloucestershire’s Day Centres can make a huge difference to the overall health and wellbeing of carers.
Helen Baker, CEO at Crossroads Care Gloucestershire, said: “We’ve had to reopen our services gradually to test the water and to make sure we’ve got everything in place for people to feel safe enough to come back out to us. These last 18 months have been immensely challenging for so many people around the county as we had to basically close our services overnight. We know some carers who have gone without any support at all for months now and are literally at a loose end. It’s been heartbreaking, so we’re just pleased to be in a position to offer our services again and let these wonderful carers take some precious time out for themselves.”
Just a few hours break from looking after a person with care needs or various health conditions; whether it’s to take a walk with a friend, go shopping, or just have a long bath and read a book, can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall physical and mental health and wellbeing in carers.
Helen added: “We know how important our group-based support services are to the carers, but they also offer special experiences for the people attending. Some of these people have known each other for years and its lovely to see them just happily chatting about their families. It’s a really nice, friendly environment – especially after a prolonged period of isolation for many of them.
“The next challenge for us is to get as many Day Clubs open around the county as we possibly can, particularly in the more rural areas of North Gloucestershire where the geography means many carers are also socially isolated. We’re currently in talks with Bromford Housing Association to identify a new venue that can cover much of the North Cotswolds as this is one of our priority areas. We’ve already had so many carers get in touch with us desperate for support and this is only going to increase as we head into the winter months.”
It is estimated that there are an additional 4.5 million unpaid carers in the UK since the pandemic hit and the value of unpaid carers in the UK is in excess of £132bn a year, which is the equivalent to a second NHS.
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire was previously known as Crossroads Care Central & East Gloucester before undergoing a rebrand earlier this year. The charity supports unpaid family carers and the people they care for across the whole county of Gloucestershire and holds an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
To find out more about Crossroads Care Gloucestershire and the range of services provided, visit www.crossroadscareglos.org.uk