ONE hundred carers from across Cambridgeshire enjoyed a spring lunch at Hemingford Abbots Village Hall on Friday to recognise their commitment and dedication. The three-course lunch was organised by Hunts Carers Support Project, which includes Carers UK,
ONE hundred carers from across Cambridgeshire enjoyed a spring lunch at Hemingford Abbots Village Hall on Friday to recognise their commitment and dedication.
The three-course lunch was organised by Hunts Carers Support Project, which includes Carers UK, after David Butterworth, former mayor of Godmanchester, raised £1,000 at a mayor's ball and raffle at Wood Green Animal Shelter.
Cllr Butterworth said: "The carers project is amazing. It provides information support and guidance to carers. I don't think many people realise carers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I wanted to raise money to give them a well-deserved break."
The funds also provided entertainment in the form of a ventriloquist, magician and a singing duo.
Julie Woodley, project manager for carers support, said: "An event like this spring lunch is a small acknowledgement of the huge role played by carers in looking after people who often have long-term illnesses and disabilities.
"Often carers have been thrown into caring for a loved one by circumstances and they have little or no support in their role.
"The lunch gave them a little respite, time to socialise and a chance to be waited on, rather than them doing all the work."
Members from Huntingdon Volunteer Bureaux provided transport and catering assistance for the day while Cambridgeshire businesses, including Tesco, Huntingdon Leisure Centre and Sainsbury's, donated raffle prizes.
John and Dorothy Brooker, carers from Offord D'Arcy who attended the lunch, told The Hunts Post how they had given up 50 years of their lives to care for their brain-damaged son.
John said: "We didn't realise Alan would be brain damaged but he was born that way and doctors 50 years ago didn't know what was wrong with him and there was no support or guidance available to us.
"A doctor visited us when Alan was five and said he was unteachable and shouldn't attend school but he didn't offer us any explanations or support. It wasn't until a few years ago when we discovered Carers UK that we realised there were people out there to support people like us."
The couple cared for Alan until he went to live in a care home in Huntingdon in January 2005.
John added: "Caring is very hard work, especially if you're caring for someone you love. We would be lost without Carers UK."
Catherine Moore, a former catering assistant at St Ivo School explained how, after her 47-year-old husband Christopher collapsed at home two years ago, her life has changed.
"Christopher is now wheelchair-bound and only able to slightly speak after he collapsed. It's very, very hard being a carer, it's hard to just carry on as normal but you have to try. My two teenage children, Sarah and Kurt, have been caring for Christopher as well.
"When my husband came out of hospital it changed our whole lives for ever. Even the little things we used to do, like taking the dog for a walk together we just can't do anymore. It really helps to know there are organisations out there to support carers."
An information and advice day has been organised by the Carers Support Project Partnership on Wednesday, June 14, to give carers the chance to try out a range of therapies.
Hunts Carers Project is a Cambridgeshire County Council initiative made up of Age Concern, Carers UK, Crossroads, Young Carers Project and Alzhemier's Society
INFORMATION: To find out more contact Julie Woodley on 01480 415141.