Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

We are providing a wide range of services to unpaid young and adult carers in Kingston upon Thames. We are currently supporting around 3,500 carers, including 600 young carers aged 5 to 18. Carers are providing an invaluable contribution to their community and save the UK economy an estimated £130 billion per year. It is vital that carers are supported in their caring role to ensure that they remain well and able to cope with their caring role.

Carers can experience a range of difficulties as a result of caring including depression, anxiety and stress. Caring can be very isolating and carers often report loneliness due to diminishing social networks. Carers are often financially disadvantaged as a result of having to reduce the hours they work or may have to give up work completely.

Young carers can face multiple disadvantage including poor attendance at school and lower academic attainment. In one important study, young carers gained, on average nine GCSE grades below those students without caring responsibilities.

Young carers may also experience bullying and feel 'stigmatised' by parental disability. Other research showed that young carers are three times more likely to have poor physical health due to heavy lifting and lack of sleep. This study found that 38% of young carers reported having a mental health problem. Young carers often miss out on social and extra curricular activities due to their caring responsibilities.

Young carers may not have the opportunity to engage in sports and exercise and this can negatively impact on their physical and mental health.

This project will improve the health, fitness and wellbeing of unpaid carers of all ages in Kingston. We will provide a range of fitness and health sessions to ensure that carers develop the skills, knowledge, motivation and confidence to participate in physical activity and to improve their health. Over the year, we will run 100 group fitness sessions for adult and young carers.

We will also refurbish our existing 'storage' room to create a dedicated resource that will provide a wellbeing 'sanctuary' for carers. Carers will use this room to access one-to-one counselling and a range of complementary therapies, including massages, facials and reflexology.

A programme of monthly, interactive workshops will be delivered to improve carers' understanding of good health and wellbeing. Session themes will include: healthy, affordable nutrition; stress management; improving sleep; prevention of diabetes, heart disease and other preventable diseases.

Following a successful pilot project, we would also like to set up a new carers' choir to bring carers together who share a love of singing. This would be led by a community choir coordinator and be welcoming to all carers who want to participate.

Ongoing support will be given to carers throughout the project to monitor activity progress, set new targets and to provide encouragement and motivation.
Over 12 months, we will support over 150 individual carers of all ages to improve their physical and emotional health and fitness. The fitness sessions will be designed to meet the needs of particular groups of carers, including regular sessions for young carers. This will ensure that all participants feel comfortable in the sessions and exercises are appropriate for particular age and baseline fitness.

Our Fit for Caring programme will offer something for all carers regardless of age, level of fitness and ability. We will demonstrate the effectiveness of the project using wellbeing measures, case studies and feedback from carers. At the end of the year, we will hold a concert to celebrate the carers' choir and to highlight the positive outcomes of the project.

Kingston Carers' Network

Location: Kingston upon Thames

We are proud to support almost 3,500 carers in the borough of Kingston. We provide a holistic service that has been co-designed by both young and adult carers. We have listened to carers and responded by developing new services and providing support to the whole family - meeting gaps in services.
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