Located at the border of Sandwell and Birmingham, the Hamstead Hall Carers group has offered support for carers since 2003. Originally set up by the Dementia Information and Support Team, part of Crossroads Sandwell, the group was held monthly to start with and now runs every week.
Through a recent move to the Clem Dench Scouting Hut, on Hamstead Hall Rd in Handsworth, a bright, clean venue close to local bus routes, the group now benefits from good catering facilities and plenty of space for activities of all sorts.
Leading this large group with over 50 me members are Asha and Tirath (pictured below) who make sure they provide a warm and friendly place where a good mix of people are always happy to welcome new members.
Tirath first heard about the Ageing Better Fund from Christine, one of the Network Enablers at the Birmingham Carers hub who provide support and guidance for Carers in the Birmingham area.
Already running a variety of talks and other activities, the group leaders were keen to add some other fun activities and so applied to Ageing Better in Birmingham and were grateful to receive extra funding so that they could make these extra activities happen.
“Thanks to the Ageing Better Fund, we have been able to run all sorts of different activities for the group which have been perfect for keeping people engaged and interested.
“We’ve run Seated Yoga, A pamper session, (including advice on healthy food and eating and massages), Trips out to shows including a pantomime and we had a Christmas Party which was attended by almost 60 people.”
So, what about those who come to the group?
Meet Chani - A carer who, along with her dad, provides support for her mum. Chani found out about the group 3-4 years ago at an event in Edgbaston. With a family of her own, Chani has been able to enjoy a break and go on one of the trips arranged by Hamstead Hall Carers with her dad and 2 children, giving her much-needed time away from caring. Speaking about her experiences being involved with an Ageing Better activity, she said
“We had a great visit to Trentham Gardens, and the Yoga session was fantastic! The group gives me support, but I can also support others – so it works both ways”.
Ken and Joyce have been married for 60 years, Joyce has had Dementia since 2011 but Ken thinks there were signs before that in her behaviour. They have been coming to the group for the past 4 years and really enjoy the company and the good mix of people to chat with.
The demands of caring are 24/7, and as Maureen has found out, Dementia changes everything.
“If we didn’t come to this group. John probably wouldn’t get out of the house – its really good to come here, and chat with people in the same position as us - we all get support from each other.
“We’ve had great fun with all the activities here. John’s always chatting to the ladies but I’m not sure they always appreciate his joke telling!”
Fun activities and outings, laughter, and the giving and receiving of valued help and guidance are all clear features of the Hamstead Hall Carers with welcome support from Ageing Better in Birmingham.
Hamstead Hall Carers runs every Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and is held at Clem Dench Scouting Hut, Hamstead Hall Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham B20 1HX. For more details get in touch with Asha Verma on 07549 920947.