Counselling for Carers

The Kernos Centre, which provides professional counselling and psychotherapy services for Sudbury and the surrounding area, last year applied for and won an Innovation Grant from Suffolk County Council to provide one-to-one counselling support specifically aimed at helping Family Carers – people over 18 caring for an adult family member or close friend. This service is still available.

Caring for an adult member of one’s own family, or a close friend, because of old age, illness or disability, can have a huge emotional, physical and financial impact on the Carer, who is usually unprepared for taking on such a major responsibility.

As a result, many Carers experience depression, with a majority feeling highly stressed and fearful of what the future holds, both for them and the person they care for. This is often made worse by the feeling that no one truly understands the complex and challenging circumstances they face as a result of their caring situation.

Carers face a daily struggle with their role, which is often not of their choosing, and this can result in feelings of anger, guilt, resentment and ongoing grief.

Suffolk County Council’s Grant award enables Kernos to offer an innovative service providing free, confidential, one-to-one, weekly counselling sessions for Family Carers, with invaluable high quality practical and emotional support tailored to each Carer’s needs.

Kernos has a team of 11 fully-qualified professional counsellors, all with a wealth of experience in this specific area.

The Grant award recognises that Kernos is working together with local agencies that provide support for the Cared For in Sudbury – the Bridge Project, The Befriending Scheme, Eden Rose Coppice, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Age UK Suffolk, Crossroads and the Richmond Fellowship – and has also forged links with new partners to broaden the scope of this initiative. Such partnerships, for example, enable respite care to be offered if needed to allow Carers to attend their counselling sessions. They also help to increase knowledge of, and access to, other benefits, significantly enhancing a Family Carer’s quality of life and general well-being.

Chris Boatwright, Director of Kernos, said: “This Grant has allowed us to offer Family Carers – a largely unrecognised and undervalued group in society, who tend to suffer in silence – an innovative, free service to help improve their lives. Sadly there are many local people looking after adult family members or friends who don’t consider themselves as ‘carers’, so they are unaware of, and therefore missing out on, essential support. Kernos is continuing to provide this support free, which will hopefully help more people to successfully cope with their extremely demanding caring role”.