Before I engaged with Manchester Carers Forum, I was very lucky to have family and friends, but despite that I still felt, at times, alone and at sea. In fact I would describe myself as an emotional wreck when I first engaged with the Forum. I didn’t know who to turn to, that I was even a carer, or that there were people like me.
Since that time, I’ve developed an ability to take a deep breath, to step backfrom situations, and I would even say; become a better carer; enabling the people I care for, rather than just doing everything for them. In a large part this is thanks to the involvement of the Forum and being able to tap into a network of support. Partnership with others for me, not only means those around me, but now in my established role as the Chair of Manchester Carers Forum, it means working together with other organisations: we are stronger together.
This is why I am passionate about being the Chair of Manchester Carers Forum and the work that we do to raise awareness of the vital contribution that unpaid carers make within society, recognising their worth and value, and ensuring that their voices are heard by those who are planning services.
I first engaged with the forum through their support groups. The groups create a welcoming and non judgemental environment where carers can talk openly and honestly about their caring role, learn about support that’s local to them and take a break. I have had a direct hand in developing the support groups that are run across the city in Manchester and proud to say that we have monthly groups in the East, North, South and Centre of Manchester. We see the value in collaborative working, and have managed to secure funding through local housing trusts towards pamper treatments and day trips for the groups allowing carers to have a much needed break from their caring role.
I am also involved with ALL FM and have set up a project to develop a radio show for carers across Manchester. With the support of ALL FM, I along with a group of carers are now running a weekly carers radio show on a voluntary basis, promoting not only the work of Manchester Carers Forum, but any organization that offers support to carers.
The future continues to hold challenges, but we are proud that we look set to be in a stable place to continue to face these challenges. This is in no small measure due to the hard work and continued commitment of the staff. I am proud to be Chair of Manchester Carers Forum, for the work it continues to do for carers, and to be involved in an organization that has had such a personal impact on my own life and continues to be a support.
Gaynor Morgan, Chair, Manchester Carers Forum