CHAT Carers and Bereavement Support Group
Thornton Medical Centre, Church Road, Thornton
Providing support to the carers and bereaved in our community.
We are a self-funded, self-managed community group of volunteers. We meet every Friday afternoon of each month for 2 hours. 1st and 3rd Friday afternoons our CHAT group members share a programme of a variety of good quality activities which include guest speakers, such as community policing, fall prevention and Age UK.
We have bingo afternoons and a member provides a quiz afternoon.
Each month we have a raffle, bring and buy stall to raise our funds. The CHAT members pay a subscription of 50 pence to receive a hot drink and biscuit and the various activities planned. We self manage our group as opposed to a select committee. I have found that this encourages the members to suggest activities that they would like to do. The most popular are voted in at our three-month planning meeting. As team leader I then organise and arrange these activities. I type a calendar for each member to detail that three months planned.
We share a lunch out together to enjoy company whilst eating, something many take for granted, but carers and bereaved constantly eat alone at home. On the 2nd and 4th Friday afternoons our group meets to volunteer to run a "Serving the Community" Tea Bar. The accent is on "Serving" in that we open our doors to invite the rest of the community to join us for a 50 pence hot drink and biscuit and enjoy some company in our safe and relaxing meeting place at our medical centre. We have a stall at each Tea Bar to sell 50 pence books, etc., to raise our funds.
CHAT group has 25 members and we have a weekly attendance of 20 - 24. The group was started in 1996.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
With extra funds, such as your gift, over one year we would be able to hire disabled / elderly friendly means of transport. This would enable all our members, including the less mobile and elderly, to be included in a trip out. This would be a safer means of transport as opposed to public transport which proves difficult for some. A trip out to a place of interest in friendly company boosts confidence and helps members to rejoin the community after the stress of caring or bereavement.
We would be able to have an in house Christmas Buffet at our meeting place. This may well be the only celebration of Christmas for some in company.
We would be able to subsidise the meals that we share, therefore including all members, especially those who have difficulty in buying a meal out. This would ensure that the members' wellbeing is cared for, as many carers and bereaved skip a decent meal.
"I joined CHAT group in 2002 when I was a Carer for my Mum and had just lost my dad. I have since lost my mum and having no close family, especially nearby, I have found the support from my friends at the group has got me through the dark days. Being a carer and the loss of both parents was a terrible strain but the members all share your sense of being alone in your time of need. That is what CHAT group is about."