‘My hope is that once and for all, progress is made’

Maggie Sanderson is a carer who attended the first Herefordshire and Worcestershire partnership meeting. Here, she shares why she went along and what she hopes the programme will achieve.

“If I can find a way to improve my health and wellbeing, I can improve the life of the person I care for.”

For the last 7 years I have been involved in Herefordshire Carers Support which has opened many doors:  I enjoyed taking part in courses on dementia, mindfulness and other training and I’m now voluntary link worker with my mum’s Nursing Home.  I have always wanted to make sure Carers were heard, so when I heard about the Building Health Partnerships (BHP) meeting, I decided to go along.

Seven years ago, the word ‘care’ meant very little to me – it does now!

When my parents, then in their mid-80s, moved from their native Derbyshire to live near me, their only child, my life changed.  Not long after, my father was diagnosed with dementia and a serious blood disorder and my role went from daughter to carer.  We had four happy years but then my mum had a serious fall, fractured her hip and never returned permanently to their beloved flat.  Dad moved to a care setting and passed away a few months later.  Around the same time an aunt died, leaving me the responsibility of caring (at a distance) for her only son who is now 66 years of age and has paranoid schizophrenia.  With my assistance, he still manages to live independently but his needs can, and do, change without notice.

Speaking out for carers

As with all the events I have attended, I went with an open mind.  I go as myself.  No expectations, just a genuine desire to listen and speak out on behalf of all carers.  At the first BHP meeting in Malvern I was surprised at the numbers present, the variety of areas represented and also many familiar faces I had met along my journey as a carer.  A vast amount of material was covered on the day, it was well organised and friendly. Words kept cropping up like ‘culture change’, ‘voluntary sector’, ‘engaging communities’ and ‘health and wellbeing’.  People are coming together in the same room, many with good ideas which could actually work, my hope is that once and for all progress is made.

Supporting wellbeing of carers – Rejuvenate!

It is my belief that creativity and wellbeing go hand in hand.  To this end,  following the BHP meeting, I have played an instrumental part in setting up a Creative Carers Group in Hereford called Rejuvenate!  Little did I know what my retirement would hold! The idea is to bring carers together in a relaxed setting, inspire them to explore their own creative side with art materials, textiles and fabric and leave feeling happy, relaxed and more able to carry out their caring role. I hope Building Health Partnerships will help all sorts of people working across health and social care to realise the importance of initiatives like Rejuvenate and support people to attend.

I’ve recently become unwell myself and have had to make some difficult decisions as to where I channel my reduced energy. There have been so many times recently I have wondered how I could have coped in a full time caring roll – the answer was I couldn’t! This has reminded me how precious our health is!

This programme is supported by NHS England and the Big Lottery Fund. Read more about the Building Health Partnerships: Self-care programme and follow #BHPselfcare for updates. 

Hear more reflections from the first partnership meetings – Nick Temple, Deputy Chief Executive at Social Enterprise UK, shares his experience of the session in Humber, Coast and Vale. 

The next partnership meeting in Herefordshire and Worcestershire will be on January 31st 2018 in Malvern. Please contact houda@ivar.org.uk for more information.

Find out about Rejuvenate!

You may also be interested in:

Profile picture of Zoe Amar, digital and communications consultant for charities.
What the key findings from The Charity Digital Skills Report mean for charities and funders
Read more Blog
Join IVAR as Director of Research
Read more Blog
Trusting funders are not letting go of impact


Read more Blog
whois: Andy White Freelance WordPress Developer London