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Suffolk Family Carers

People having fun at a recent Suffolk Family Carers event

On any given day, you might find carers in Suffolk belly dancing, singing, sewing or enjoying arts, crafts and a cup of tea. You might even find them at a Family Fun Carnival (pictured). These activities and others are run by Suffolk Family Carers to help families enjoy fun, social activities together as a break from caring.

Suffolk Family Carers also gives family carers of all ages support and information to help them make important decisions that affect them and the person they care for.

"We help family carers to get the breaks they often so badly need, help them to say no when they've had enough, and help them stay in or get back into employment if they wish," says chief executive Jacqui Martin.

Suffolk Family Carers had two part-time staff members when it opened in 1988. It now has more than 80 employees and 120 volunteers.

It regularly supports around 5,500 family carers and offers services to many others, including a helpline and advocacy support for family carers.

Bev's story

Bev Mimms, who cares for her two sons who have mental illnesses, is just one of the thousands that Suffolk Family Carers has supported in the past year. She has been visiting the Family Carers Information and Support Centre at Claydon, near Ipswich, for nearly two years.

"I find the centre very helpful. Everyone is so friendly," she says. "I was referred to the centre by my son's support worker. It's been amazing in pointing me in the right direction to get the support I need."

Bev finds meeting her support worker, Louise, for a coffee and a chat very helpful. "I've also tried the therapies on offer, like the Indian head massage and reflexology," she says.

But Suffolk Family Carers does more than simply help carers feel good. Where necessary, they work with other local organisations to improve services for family carers.

"We represent family carers at most key meetings across Suffolk to ensure their needs are heard and incorporated into the planning of future services," Martin says.

Young Carers and Young Adult Carers

As well as supporting young people aged 9 to 16 whose lives are affected by their caring role, Suffolk Family Carers also supports Young Adult carers aged between 17 and 24 who are too old for young carers' services but not old enough for adult services.

In health

Suffolk Family Carers has a support service at Ipswich Hospital, a carers lead at the Louise Hamilton Centre at James Paget University Hospital, and two GP advisers supporting family carers in surgeries across West Suffolk.

"Our focus is always on the family carer, whether they or the person that they care for is the patient," says Martin.

"Having identified who the family carer is, we help them find their way around the health system and sometimes to give them a voice.

"Often, they are in crisis and we support them through that."

Contact

Suffolk Family Carers Information and Support Centre reception is open Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm and Friday 10am to 4pm. Call the centre on 01473 835 400 or the helpline on 0844 225 3099.

For more information about its services, visit the Suffolk Family Carers website.

To find out how other carers got help and support in their local area, read our real stories.

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Page last reviewed: 09/04/2014

Next review due: 09/04/2016

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

Confidential information and advice for carers.

Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Request a free call back or an interpreted call back in one of more than 170 languages including ربي, বাংলা, 中文, Français, ગુજરાતી, Polski, Português, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Soomaali, Español, Türkçe and .اردو.

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Media last reviewed: 17/07/2013

Next review due: 17/07/2015