To celebrate Carers Week 2024, we would like to reshare this story from our winter Shine magazine, detailing the importance of Wesham Carers Cafe and the great work they do there.

This safe haven for carers, located in the heart of Wesham, has now offered more than 30 hours of support for those in need. In the early winter of 2022, the idea of establishing a carer’s café at Wesham took root. Initiated by carers champion, Katherine Routledge, who had witnessed the positive impact of similar groups in the past and with the support of colleagues, it wasn’t long before it gained momentum.

And now, the endeavour, spearheaded by Katherine, Katarzyna Gorska, and Victoria Critchley, has become an integral part of Wesham’s community, bringing immeasurable support to patients and carers.

Prior to the opening, the team sought feedback from service users and carers to develop a café that would be tailored to their needs.

The team offer monthly gatherings at the facility, which are eagerly anticipated locally, offering a safe space for carers to access support, whilst having the opportunity to engage with their loved ones.

On the day of the café, an array of activities are available, such as baking and crafting, which not only engage service users but also offer therapeutic rehabilitation. The café is decorated to feel welcoming and to stop it feeling clinical. A suggestion box provides both carers and patients a chance to share feedback to ensure the café meets their evolving needs.

Victoria Critchley, is also one of the many clinicians working at the café dedicated to supporting carers in the community. She said:

“We have service users who have positively moved on to live in the community whose families still attend the cafe. They continue to attend sessions to receive support for themselves, as well as a desire to give back and provide support for newer carer attendees.

There is so much that we are working on behind the scenes, from scales, a carer’s book, a newsletter, considerations for a service user cafe and much more.

The cafe is extremely rewarding and seemingly beneficial for all involved.”

All carers are welcome to attend the cafe, with more details available on our website.

Hear it from attendees:

“Great to have a carers group! Amazing job by everyone. Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement for both of us and our son.”

“I felt very anxious about coming to the carers cafe but once there I felt very welcome and it has become part of my support network and I look forward to it each month.”