Peer support Being a Carer can be so rewarding but there can also be many challenges along the way. As a Carer you are providing a vital service but it can also lead to other issues which may affect your own health and wellbeing. It can be so time consuming looking after someone else that you may “forget” to look at your own needs. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to family or friends about how you feel, you may feel that you don’t want to “burden” other people with your problems or feel guilty for feeling the way that you do. We provide a peer support service to Carers who may need a little bit of extra support for a short time. All of our Peer Support Workers are, or have been Carers themselves so they have a good understanding with a lot of the issues that Carers may face – they may also have faced similar experiences themselves. The service enables to you to talk in confidence about issues or problems that you may be facing and in doing so it can help to identify what kind of things could help you. The support we can provide is flexible and is very dependent on what you as a Carer would benefit from. These are some comments from Carers who feel they have benefited from Peer Support “It has been great having someone who understands my issues and supports me, it has made a difference to how I cope ” “It has made me more knowledgeable about what’s going on and where to get help” “Encouraged me to do different things, especially things for myself – before this I felt really isolated” “Because I am more confident this has made me happier at home” What do our Peer Support Workers think of the service? Here are some views from two who have been with the organisation for several years. “We are part of a very useful team of Peer Supporters for Northamptonshire Carers and have also been Carers ourselves. The main part of our work is visiting Carers, listening to them and giving support and information. Each person is different, their needs vary so much, we go along building on our experiences and skills. We can attend meetings with them as some Carers feel intimidated in such surroundings and it is difficult for them to find their voice. Other times the Carer just needs to offload their feelings on to someone who understands but knows we will not judge or try and steer their life in a direction they do not wish to take. We feel that everyone needs someone to talk to and understand them and never more so when you are caring for anyone with an additional need as sometimes you feel very alone. When the support has came to an end it is very gratifying to hear Carers say how much they appreciated the support, how it got them through a very difficult period in their life and for some, they were now thinking of becoming Peer Supporters themselves.” Lynette & Jeanette, Peer Support Workers Referrals to peer support can be accessed through completion of a Carers Assessment or contact the support line on 01933 677907 or contact Linda Tiffney on 01933 677837 for further information.