Forest Hill based charity, Carers Lewisham launched an emergency funding campaign to save a counselling service that has supported Carers in Lewisham for more than 30 years. Carers Lewisham provide a range of services to Carers, helping them back into work, offering practical support and giving vital advice on how to overcome the challenges they face.
One of their most important services provides counselling on a one to one basis with Carers, but it is now under threat. Unlike the information and advice service, the counselling service isn’t funded by the Local Authority and so relies on the charity itself being able to fund it.
Cathy Collymore, a Carers’ Support Officer who has supported local Carers for over 20 years, said, “Our Counselling Service is staffed by a mix of volunteers, many of whom have been Carers themselves, and paid staff. We meet and listen to Carers every day and at the moment can provide this for free.
Carers often feel lonely and isolated. We understand the anger, frustration and upset that a life of caring can often lead to. We are here to help them realise that caring can be just a part of their lives.
The news that we may not be able to provide counselling to Carers in the future came as a complete shock to everyone here. We are distressed and upset to have to turn to our community in the midst of a crisis for our charity. But, if we don’t manage to raise the money we need, Carers in Lewisham using our counselling service will lose what is often their only source of support.”
Sybil Carey a carer who has used the service, said “This helped me come to terms with the hurt and loss I was feeling because I felt cheated out of a life I looked forward to when I retired. I have lost my husband to Dementia and I felt bereaved and isolated. Carers Lewisham has been a rock, helped me to keep my sanity and give me prospective. Losing the Counselling service will devastate a lot of Carers. I am now caring for my husband happily and feel reassured that the service is there if I need it. Thank you”
Another beneficiary of the counselling service is Jacqui Cook, now a Trustee of Carers Lewisham. Jacui said, “”I came to Carers Lewisham over 15 years ago and made use of the counselling service. I was in a bad way emotionally and financially and didn’t know where to turn to. The service let me talk through my problems, to actually say things out loud that I had been bottling up for ages. I started to take back control of my own life and look at life without fear and move forward. An absolute lifeline to me. It is a free service and has helped many other Carers in similar circumstances.”
Carers Lewisham’s Chair, Val Fulcher, said, “This is a highly distressing situation for a vital local charity who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in danger of losing this important service for carers. We are doing all we can to save our counselling service. Even our new Interim CEO will be joining our amazing group of volunteers over December and January to help solve this problem, as we can’t afford to pay him. I urge the local community to support this urgent appeal and help preserve this lifeline for local Carers.”
To support the campaign to save Carer’s Lewisham’s Counselling Service, visit their website www.carerslewisham.org.uk or call 0208 699 8686.