CHAT Carers and bereavement support group

Thornton Cleveleys

Your story

A self-funded, voluntary support group for carers and bereaved in our Community

Group introduction

When our Group started in 1996 it's name "CHAT " was made up of the first initials of the words -----"Carers Hour At Thornton".
The Group began with a once monthly meeting and has developed gradually. Our main objective is to provide support for carers , bereaved and older people who may be socially isolated. We are based at our local Thornton Health Centre who support us by providing a venue. Funding for our self-funded group comes from our monthly raffles and bring and buy stall and a group subscription of 50 pence per meeting which includes a hot drink and biscuit. We meet every Friday afternoon for 2 hours at the Health centre where we provide a variety of afternoon activities for our members ranging from Guest Speakers, quizzes, bingo, our raffles and bring and buy stall and a monthly lunch together locally. On July 11th 2003 CHAT group members volunteered to create and run a "Serving the Community " Tea Bar afternoon twice a month at the same venue. The Tea Bar aims to provide support for the CHAT members in a casual setting and also invites all in the Community to come along to our Tea bar to enjoy a 50 pence hot drink and good company---" just what the doctor ordered " . Here our funds are boosted by the sale of hot drinks and saleable goods on a stall such a 25 pence books. As Treasurer I organise an Annual General Meeting to summerise the accounts. Being a self- managed group too CHAT group have a quarterly meeting for all members to discuss any issues and suggest and vote for the next 3 months CHAT group activities. As Team Leader I arrange these activities and print a typed copy of the 3 month forthcoming activities for each member to take and refer to. At our Friday afternoon meetings we aim to provide a range of good quality activities and encourage all our members to join in and make new friends who all know exactly what each of us is going through having been there themselves. Good company, friendship and a relaxing afternoon at CHAT meetings enhances our well-being, increases confidence and helps to relieve the stress of the daily life of a carer or bereaved. I joined the Group in 2002 after caring for and losing my Dad to Prostate Cancer. In 2012 I lost my Mam to Lung Cancer after caring for her at home. CHAT group members have seen me through some dark days . I am lucky to have good friends now outside the CHAT group circle along with my friends within the group but some members have only the new friends made at CHAT Group. Caring and bereavement are facts of life and will come to us all. Small groups, such as ourselves, need to continue to offer support to our Community and , with funding, we will be there for those who need us when they need us most of all.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

With funding, we wish to go to a Christmas afternoon organised by a local hotel in Blackpool. The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, is arranging this event, aimed at groups, on the afternoon of Thursday, December 13th, 2018.
It will be Christmas meal together for all our 21 members, followed by carols being sung by Blackpool Male Voice Choir, ending with a cup of tea and mince pies. The costing of this event is 21 members x £15.95. We would like to use the remainder of the £500 funding, should we be successful, to subsidise CHAT group's own monthly local lunches together.
The afternoon Christmas meal together may be the only
"celebration" of Christmas for some of our members, especially those who live alone and are without family or friends other than CHAT members. The camaraderie created at this event together will help ease the members' distress during this emotional season. It will help each member to get through this next stressful hurdle together and help them to cope better now and, in time, be stronger for the years ahead. Using the remainder of the total funding to subsidise a few of our group monthly lunches together will ensure that all 21 members are able to come along and have a lunch in company as opposed to constantly eating alone at home. Eating in company is a thing that many take for granted.

"I have been attending the CHAT Group for 8 years after losing my husband. I enjoy taking part in the quizzes, bingo, etc. and the occasional small trips out to a garden centre etc. when funds allow. I help out by doing the raffles which helps me make new friends in the group.
CHAT has been a great help to me and I have been able to make new friends who know what I have been through.
Mrs. Maureen Jones
CHAT Group member."

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