Posted 04:09PM on Tuesday 01 March 2016
We’re appealing to people to support our bid for £50,000 of Big Lottery money to ease the fears of older carers in the Bangor and Lisburn areas.
We are one of five charities competing for funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s Projects. Our stories are being showcased by UTV, with the public voting to help decide who wins the prize.
If successful, we will use the money to build upon the work of our Better Futures Project to establish a Connecting Caring Project for the most vulnerable older carers in our society, many of whom are over 80 years old.
In many cases, older carers are so worried and frightened about the future that the last thought they have before going to bed is the hope that their loved one will die in the night.
John Powell from Lambeg is 84 and cares for his daughter Jacqueline, who is in her 50s. She has a learning disability and has difficulty with her balance and speech.
John said: “Until Positive Futures came along, most of the time we couldn’t go out of the house. If Jacqueline needed to go to the bathroom, I had to ask a stranger to take her. It was easier not to go out at all. Apart from that, I’m not as fit as I used to be.
“I also have problems with all the forms we need to fill in. It’s hard coping with everything alone. But Positive Futures allows me to get out of the house for a while.”
At 84, John’s health is also a concern. He suffered a minor stroke earlier this month and worries about the future.
The Connecting Caring Project will provide individualised support to the most vulnerable carers in our society through practical support at home as well as information and advice sessions. The Project will also provide opportunities to promote the independence and skills of family members with a disability to prepare for a time when they may not be cared for at home.
Our Chief Executive, Agnes Lunny, said: “The majority of older carers describe their caring duties as ‘non–stop’. They also feel isolated and have physical health problems and emotional stress associated with caring. Despite the obvious need, there are no dedicated community based support services for older carers in Northern Ireland.
“Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of people with a learning disability living in the family home and cared for by an ageing family member than anywhere else in the UK or Ireland.
“There is a massive need for the support we provide. That’s why we’re asking people to back our bid in the Big Lottery People’s Project.”
To show your support for older carers living, we urge you to take five minutes and vote for us. To vote, click here and vote for Positive Futures. Voting runs from Monday 29 February to Sunday 13 March. Without your vote, we cannot support these vulnerable carers and their families.