As many as 600 people who have dedicated years to looking after a loved one and are now isolated and lonely, will be helped to move on with their lives, thanks to a grant from Bedfordshire Freemasons to the Carers in Bedfordshire charity.
The £62,000 grant will help provide emotional and practical support for socially isolated former carers from across the county over the next three years. These are people who often spent as much as 70 hours a week looking after a loved one and regularly face isolation and loneliness because they have little time to maintain friendships or hobbies. When they are no longer carers, because the person they care for dies or moves into residential care, they often remain isolated because they do not know where to meet others or find new interests.
Social events and peer support groups will run throughout the year for all former carers, including face-to-face and online. They will be designed to give people companionship and the chance to make friends, as well as include time to socialise and an activity. If necessary, former carers will be referred to the charity’s wellbeing and counselling services.
The grant from Bedfordshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales. This grant is in addition to the £15,000 Carers in Bedfordshire received from the Freemasons in June last year to improve and update their website.
Amanda Thaxter, Adult Carer Support Lead at Carers in Bedfordshire, said: “We’re very grateful to Bedfordshire Freemasons for their generous grant. It will allow us to provide help and support to hundreds of people who have devoted many years to looking after a loved one and who are now isolated, lonely and often in mourning.”
Tony Henderson, the head of Bedfordshire Freemasons said ‘Carers provide an unpaid, but vital service in supporting their loved ones. After years of dedication, it can be understandably tough to know how to move on when the person you care for dies. This grant will enable Carers in Bedfordshire to provide resources dedicated to helping former carers through this difficult period’