Organisations offer help to Portsmouth carers

From left, Chris Colbourne from Connors Toy Libraries with Alison Nicholson from Healthwatch Portsmouth''Picture: Sarah Standing (170728-3104)
From left, Chris Colbourne from Connors Toy Libraries with Alison Nicholson from Healthwatch Portsmouth''Picture: Sarah Standing (170728-3104)
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CHARITIES and healthcare professionals joined forces to offer advice to carers.

Portsmouth Carers’ Voice held the event at Portsmouth Guildhall yesterday as part of Carers’ Week.

Organisations set up stalls to offer support to carers in the city, who are otherwise unaware of help available to them.

Organiser Claire Ratchwell, 36, said: ‘It’s about raising awareness of carers and what their needs might be, and sharing information about what support is available to carers in the city.

‘We have organisations here all keen to share that information with carers and make sure they’re linked in to whatever support they might need.’

Elizabeth Sica, from Southsea, was running a stall for The Cinnamon Trust.

The organisation ensures pets are looked after while their owners are in hospital.

She said: ‘It’s the only specialist charity for elderly people and their pets.

‘We seek to keep the pet and the owner together for as long as possible.

‘It gives owners peace of mind regarding the future of their beloved pets.

Portsmouth Carers’ Voice leader Andrew Parsons said: ‘We’re here to represent the voice of thousands of unpaid carers in the city, many of whom probably don’t even realise they’re carers.

‘What’s important for us is to try to get the word out.

‘Unless carers come forward, they just stay anonymous, and as they’re caring for their loved ones, they don’t see themselves as carers.’

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome, visited the event yesterday.

Speaking on stage, he told of his own experience in looking after a loved one.

He told people he cared for his 97-year-old mother, and had also looked after his wife.

‘My wife suffered a severe brain injury some 10 years ago and was left with a 30 per cent chance of survival, so I obviously had a degree of care,’ he said.

‘To repay what I did for her, three years later I had a stroke so she had to look after me.

‘Fortunately, we’re both reasonably active now, so it just goes to show you can overcome difficulties if you get the right support.’

For more on Portsmouth Carers’ Voice and The Cinnamon Trust, visit shapingportsmouth.co.uk and cinnamon.org.uk