Crossroads Care: caring for carers

Today (30 January) is Young Carers Awareness Day, an annual event organised by Carers Trust. Care Quality Commission is supporting this day by shining a spotlight on some of the great work being done by adult social care services that support and consider carer needs of all ages.

In this guest blog, Linda Larkin, Registered Manager at Crossroads Care West Berkshire, who goes above and beyond for carers in her community.

Carers enjoying a coffee morning
Carers enjoying a coffee morning
Carers at a support day organised by Crossroads Care West Berkshire

I bet, like so many of us, you have had a busy week. Your boss has set unrealistic deadlines, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and the family are insisting you cook their favourite dinner. It’s hectic and non-stop, but wait, you’re meeting your friend for a coffee tomorrow.

This precious moment to take a breath, relax and recharge is one which many carers find difficult to find. A few hours just for themselves.

I manage a domiciliary care agency called Crossroads Care in West Berkshire with a fantastic team who are passionate about looking after not just our service users, but their amazing carers too!

We provide two respite services called “Rapid response” and “The Swift service” to ensure that the wonderful carers in our community benefit from a little break just for them. Between swimming, hiking and coffee mornings, we continually fundraise to enable these vital services to flourish.

Our rapid response service is for 24-hour carers who are facing a crisis. Situations could include the need to go into hospital or having ongoing health problems requiring appointments. Through either a referral from their GP or coming directly to us, we can support them with a qualified carer to go in and look after their loved one, giving them the time they need to look after themselves. Once registered if something unexpected happens we will be there.

Swift Response is for 24-hour carers to have a much-needed rest. Quite often carers get very little sleep, so re-charging their batteries can be both beneficial to them and the person they care for. The team have done some great work with the community and secured partnerships with 20 local hotels, which provide a lovely, comfy room free of charge. Our professional carers now do extended hours so that the person using the service can check in, have a relaxing bath, time to themselves and even have a lie in, safe in the knowledge that their loved one is being looked after.

Through grants we run courses too. Many carers find themselves in an isolated situation but can’t get out into the community. One of our carers unfortunately had to give up his allotment because he could no longer leave his wife, but through our support he is now back and enjoying his hobby again among friends on our gardening course. Other initiatives include visits to historic buildings, group walks, wellbeing courses and lunches.

We couldn’t offer these services without fundraising. Our fantastic team and people who have benefited from the service are actively involved to raise the funds needed to keep services going, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all that they do. Thank you for giving carers in our community their moment.

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