Stories of carers helped with grants

Collin

Collin is a single parent caring for his two sons, one suffering from ADHD and the other from behavioural problems.

Collin* is a single parent and is the main carer for his two sons. 17 year old Michael suffers from ADHD and 15 year old Ben has significant behavioural problems. Collin has been visiting his local Carers' Centre for nearly two years, following a GP referral as part of the Carers’ Centre GP project. Despite his heavy caring role, Collin is a strong supporter of the centre and tries to help promote services to identify other hidden carers. At the time of his application, Colin was awaiting surgery for blocked arteries and his combined stress meant that he was close to breaking point. Colin applied to the Carers Break fund for him to take a two day seaside break. As he hasn’t had any form of break for nearly six years and little income due to his significant caring role, the panel awarded Colin £195.60 to cover the costs of travel and hotel expenses during his break.

Michelle

Michelle* cares for her 13-year-old son, James who has learning difficulties as a result of oxygen deprivation at birth.

Michelle* cares for her thirteen year old son, James and her elderly husband, Alex. James suffered oxygen deprivation at birth and as a result now has learning difficulties, heart and lung problems and is also doubly incontinent. Alex suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic heart disease. As her husband’s health is deteriorating, it is likely that her caring role for him will increase. Michelle is finding it very difficult to juggle the caring needs of both her son and husband and she is surviving on little sleep. Michelle was awarded £200 towards a weekend at a holiday park in Wales. As her son has been diagnosed as having a life limiting condition, she is keen to spend some quality time with him alone so chose to take him with her.

Danielle

Danielle cares for her 27-year-old step-daughter who suffers from a rare congenital disorder and stage four renal failures.

Danielle* provides care for her 27 year old step-daughter, Natalie who suffers from Kabuki syndrome (a rare congenital disorder) and stage four renal failures. Both of these disorders involve multiple conditions and health implications for the family to manage. Danielle was awarded £200 for a weeks stay at a caravan park in Devon. The break will allow her to have some time to herself and give her a chance to do some reading and cooking, two hobbies she currently has little time to do.

Mathew

Mathew is the main carer for his wife, who suffered a back injury and nerve damage in 2007.

Mathew is the main carer for his wife, who suffered a back injury and nerve damage in 2007. In 2009, she suffered a further spinal fracture, which has resulted in Mathew caring for her on a daily basis which includes washing, dressing and feeding her. The couple also have a 2-year-old son. As well as caring for his wife and looking after their young son, Mathew is struggling to maintain a full time job. Mathew was awarded £200 in order to pay for gym membership at his local gym for a year. He finds going to the gym his only real break from his caring situation and the additional stress of work.

Lauren

Wheelchair-bound Lauren provides support to her husband who suffers from severe spinal injury

Lauren’s husband suffered a severe spinal injury and as a result has had a catheter inserted and has a permanent colostomy bag. Lauren had major surgery herself which left her immobile for some time and she continues to be wheelchair bound for large parts of the day. Lauren’s mother recently died which resulted in her losing a major source of emotional support. Lauren was awarded a contribution of £150 to buy a fridge freezer, to enable her to store food in a larger capacities, meaning that Lauren does not have to go shopping as often.

David

David cares for his wife Laura who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.

David cares for his young wife Laura who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. David had to give up his job to support his wife to make sure she takes her medication on time. David also acts as the primary carer for their four children, including 7-year-old Emma who has been professionally diagnosed as having ADHD, a 4 year old and 2 children under the age of 4. David’s family struggles to meet their needs and their debts are increasing on a monthly basis. The family needed a new cooker, as their current one had a broken safety mechanism meaning that there was a constant risk of fire. The family have been making do with using a microwave to cook all of their meals. David was awarded £325, which is the current standard contribution the fund can make towards the purchase cost of a cooker. This would be a big relief for David and would contribute towards a better quality of life for him and his large family.

Alison

Alison cares for her son who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Alison cares for her son who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Alison finds it very difficult to live with him as he refuses to wash his own clothes and bedding or help with any household chores. Her son also refuses to contribute financially as he keeps all his attendance allowance. Alison has recently had a bad fall and broken her foot which has limited her mobility. Alison has not had a break for over four years and was awarded £200 for a five night bed and breakfast break in Penzance, to allow her some time to herself and get away from the intense home situation. A friend of Alison’s has agreed to check on her son while she is away.

Natalie

Natalie has an intense physical and emotional caring role. Her husband is alcohol dependent and has severe mental health problems; her son also suffers from severe depression and her mum has advanced Alzheimer’s.

Natalie has an intense physical and emotional caring role. Her husband is alcohol dependent and has severe mental health problems; her son also suffers from severe depression and her mum has advanced Alzheimer’s. Natalie is trying to maintain a part time job, partially for respite but is on call to all three members of her family for daily aspects of care (dressing, cooking, personal care etc). Natalie feels very isolated and exhausted by her caring role and was awarded £200 for a five-day retreat to a local house of prayer. This will give her a chance to meet other people of the same faith in a supporting and healing environment. Due to her dedication to her caring role, Natalie has arranged different respite cover for each member of her family whilst she is away.

Emily

Emily is a carer for her husband who has secondary progressive MS and is deteriorating significantly.

Emily is a carer for her husband who has secondary progressive MS and is deteriorating significantly. Emily provides all day to day care for her husband such as assisting him to the toilet, washing, showering and managing his daily medication needs. Emily is getting very depressed seeing her partner deteriorate and caring for her husband is proving to be very exhausting. Emily has been awarded £200 to take part in a Bus Tour. Emily has not had a holiday for over six years, this break will enable Emily to have a much needed rest in empathic company in order to renew her strength and generally improve her mental state to avoid her dropping into a depressive state.

How grants help young carers

* Please note that all names have been changed.