Inspiring Bedfordshire carers celebrate second anniversary

A support group for carers in Bedfordshire has marked its second anniversary with a special celebration and plenty of cake. Carers’ Thursday, which is run by staff and volunteers from Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice and Carers in Bedfordshire, aims to give carers a ‘listening ear' and the chance to chat with others in a similar situation.

Carers at St John's attending the Carers' Thursday support group
Our Carers' Thursday group is free and welcomes carers, the person they care for, and former carers of all ages and circumstances.
Organisers of Carers' Thursday with their cakes
The group is always well stocked with cakes.
Carers and St John's volunteers

The group recently held a special party to celebrate its second anniversary – which included a delicious cake cut by carer Dee, who was the first person through the door at the first session back in 2017.

Carers’ Thursday was started to make sure local carers had the support they needed to help them cope with the demands of caring for a family member or friend.

Over the past two years, the group has gone from strength to strength with attendees benefitting from the advice and support of the team that runs it. This includes former carers, social workers, bereavement support workers, a complementary therapist and an administrator.

Attendees have been able to drop-in to the free monthly sessions to share experiences over a cup of tea and a homemade cake. They have also enjoyed a variety of activities and guest speakers, including talks by an occupational therapist, staff from Langford Nurseries and Garden Centre, and the Bedfordshire Police Bobby Scheme.

"As a carer, it makes me feel better to have a break."

Elaine Lawrence has attended the group for nearly a year.

“It’s nice to have somewhere to go to chat and have a break,” she said. “Being in the situation I am, it makes me feel better to come away from it for a bit. My favourite part is hearing from all of the different speakers – I find them really interesting and have learned things I didn’t know!

"I also enjoy the activities, from decorating mugs to going out for lunch at the pub. There is also a complementary therapist there at the sessions who can give massages, which is nice. Plus the cakes are very good – the cheese scones are delicious!”

"We started Carers’ Thursday to make sure that local carers always have someone they can chat to."

Charmain Felts, Social Worker at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said: “Caring for somebody can have an impact on many aspects of your life and leave you needing support. That is why we started Carers’ Thursday – to make sure that local carers always have someone they can chat to.

“Thank you so much to Carers in Bedfordshire and everyone who has been involved with the group over the past two years. I am really grateful to our fantastic team and all the inspiring carers and former carers who spend time with us - it is such a privilege to be part of such a friendly group.

"We have lots more exciting plans for this year and would love for new carers to come and join us – you will be made to feel very welcome," she added.

Come along to Carers’ Thursday

Carers’ Thursday is held on the second Thursday of every month from 10am to 12 noon at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger near Bedford. The group is free and welcomes carers, the person they care for, and former carers of all ages and circumstances.

For more information, please call Charmain Felts at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice on 01767 642 446, or you can call Donna on 0300 1111919 or Jenny on 01767 315079 at Carers in Bedfordshire.

Find out more about St John's Hospice