Location: Brighton and Hove

About: Brighton and Hove Carers Centre Male Carers Support Group was established in May 2009 in recognition of the fact that male carers can have particular support needs and had not been coming along to other groups or coffee mornings run by the Carers Centre.

It is funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and run by a Sessional Work Group Coordinator who is employed 10 hours a month by the Carers Centre, and is supported and supervised by a full-time member of the Carers Centre staff.

The group meets twice a month in community settings such as cafés and has established a monthly coffee morning and a monthly social activity. A core group of men come along regularly, most of whom are caring for their partners. The group is relaxed and has a mainly social focus. The Sessional Work Group Coordinator calls people who are interested in joining the group, and explains that members do not have to talk about their personal life or their caring role if they don’t wish to.

Outside the group the Coordinator offers one-to-one support and any casework is referred back to the Carers Centre. At the monthly coffee morning the carers decide on their next activity. All activities are provided free of charge, and in the past these have included bowling, pool, mini-golf, fishing, and cinema trips. Meals are very popular and the group holds an end of year meal and a ‘Male Carers Big Breakfast’. When planning activities the group are mindful of carers’ own access needs. Evening and weekend activities work best and activities last no more than a couple of hours in the local area, as this is the maximum amount of time most members can take away from their caring role.

The Centre pays transport costs for members with mobility difficulties to enable them to access the group.

An evaluation questionnaire is sent out annually to the group’s mailing list asking the men to assess the group’s usefulness in managing issues like stress, depression, feelings of isolation and ability to cope with the caring role, on a scale of 1–5 (where one represents a low rating and five a high rating).

For the period April 1st 2013–March 31st 2014 average scores ranged from 3.75–5.

Participant Quote:

“Aside from the survey results which are very positive, I am aware that some of the  men are forming friendships outside of the group and I have noticed the quality of the interaction between them has improved greatly. This is especially true of those members of the group that have been attending for a number of years, they seem to take pride in the group and are very welcoming and supportive of new members, it is as if they feel some ownership of the group which is a very positive thing.”

Who: Brighton and Hove City Council

18 Bedford Place

Tel: 01273 746222

Web: www.thecarerscentre.org