It's All About Charity

It’s All About Charity

by Adele Trathan

Volunteer in the New Year with the Association of Carers

Could you spare as little as 30 minutes a week to help improve a carer’s life? A Hastings-based charity which supports unpaid carers in East Sussex is looking for volunteers to join their team. An unpaid carer comes in many shapes and sizes but is, essentially, a person who spends time looking after someone else who would not be able to manage without their help. It is often adult children caring for parents, husbands or wives looking after their spouses, or parents caring for children with complex needs (including grown-up children). Some unpaid carers carry-out the role on a 24/7 basis.

The Association of Carers was set-up in 1987 after recognising that many carers needed support in their roles, and receiving help could improve and preserve their mental and physical wellbeing. They provide support in a variety of ways, including: Respite visits – a volunteer will spend up to 3 hours with a cared-for person, so the carer can have a break. The volunteer might spend time chatting over a cup of tea, playing games, or reading with the person they are visiting. Or they may simply sit with a person who is asleep, making sure they are kept safe.

  • Computer help – a volunteer will teach a carer some basic skills on a computer, laptop, smart phone or similar. The sort of skills that will enable the carer to do online shopping or banking, keep in touch with family, or order repeat prescriptions. Seemingly simple tasks that can make a carer’s life a bit easier.
  • Telephone support – a volunteer will carry out this role from their own home. A carer will call at a pre-arranged time for 30 minutes to discuss their caring role in confidence with a supportive listener.
  • Charity shop worker – the Association of Carers’ charity shop in Hastings raises essential funds which are used to support the other services they offer.

Jane Caley, who works for the charity, says volunteers would ideally commit regular times for at least a year. This enables, carers, volunteers and the person being cared for the chance to settle into a routine and build strong relationships. However, even if you couldn’t commit for this long, they would still love to hear from you.

The time commitment is fairly low level – as little as 30 minutes a week – and it is possible to be flexible and work around people’s lives. A full induction is offered to volunteers, and there is on-going support and training opportunities, such as safeguarding, first aid, listening skills and more.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Association of Carers, or finding out more about what they do, you can learn more and fill in a form on their website or call 01424 722309.