Borders Carer Centre – Staying afloat
Director of Development and Improvement, Kevin Geddes recently took some time to visit the Self Management funded project at Borders Carers Centre. In this blog he reflects on his visit.
Time. We’d all like a little more of it in our days, wouldn’t we? Would we use it wisely, or would we simply fill it with more stress, worry and feelings of guilt that we weren’t doing everything we felt we should be? Meeting some of the inspirational carers recently in Galashiels has left me feeling reflective about how I use the time available to me each and every day. Do I really never have ‘enough time’ or am I just terrible at putting a value on the time I have?
The Borders Carers Centre Self Management project, Staying Afloat, was set up to support carers across the region to find ways to look after themselves better. “It’s a space to think about myself, I love feeling ‘looked after’ for a change – something as simple as someone make me a coffee.” Carers told me they felt respected as individuals and valued for their caring role. “It’s a space to consider who I am.”
Staying Afloat is a safe space to meet new people, get some much needed peer support and feel confident to go on and try new things. The carers told me that they know it’s not easy for everyone to say ‘OK, I’m going to step away from my caring role, I don’t have time, there’s too much going on at home’ but they are glad they did. “It’s not about dropping anything to attend, it’s about making space for yourself, doing something positive with your time.”
Some of the group told me they had been feeling isolated, but refused to admit it. They’d heard about Staying Afloat but dismissed it, initially. “I don’t have time for this.” However, after attending a session to see they felt completely different. “I needed this to stay sane, for me. It’s got me out the house to do other things – I’ve started doing much more for myself.” “Initially I thought I was OK, I don’t need Staying Afloat, I had to negotiate with my daughter for permission to come along, now I love it, and she’s really interested in what I get up to.”
They all agreed that staying in touch with each other after the sessions was important, and would love a Staying Afloat Revisited support group. For now though, since attending Staying Afloat, the group have all gone on to do other things. Whether it’s making furniture from old pallets, finding a love of painting, starting a ‘knit and natter’ group, having massage treatments at the local college or volunteering with an outdoors community group, they’ve hung on to the value of their own time. “It’s just given me the confidence I needed.” In turn, they’ve inspired me to make some positive changes to my time, who knows what I will get up to!
Find out more about Borders Carers Centre by following this link www.borderscarerscentre.co.uk