25 Mar 2022
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has awarded just over £1m to 22 groups here, through the Carers Support Fund established by Health Minister Robin Swann last year. The funding has been allocated to groups that provide essential support including counselling, respite and activities to those with caring responsibilities.
This is the second round of funding from the Carers Support Fund, with £1.5 million allocated to date.
Róisín Wood, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation said:
“We know that there has been enormous pressure on carers as a result of the pandemic which will have impacted their physical, mental and emotional health. Carers range from children and young people, to those caring for parents of every age, partners and sometimes friends. All of these carers have different needs and often have to balance their caring duties with school or work.
“We are pleased to award this much-needed funding to groups who will now be able to offer support and respite to these carers who contribute such a huge amount to society.”
Minister Swann said:
“I am delighted to be able to announce another round of funding awards under the Support for Carers Fund. When I launched the Fund last year my focus was to support projects which would make a real difference to the lives of individual carers, on the ground.
“There’s a great mix of projects receiving funding, the provision of practical support, wellbeing events, respite, advocacy support, and mental health support. Projects also cover both adult and young carers. I look forward to see how they make a difference in the lives and experiences of individual carers in the coming months and years.
“I want to pay tribute to the many thousands of people in Northern Ireland who help look after a family member or friend without financial reward. Put simply, the health service could not cope without them and we owe them a debt of gratitude, particularly for their tremendous sacrifices, hard work and dedication during the past two years of the pandemic.”
The Happiness Café in Kilkeel runs a Memories Café, provide engaging and stimulating activities for those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and their carers. The Café has received £9,400 towards the delivery of their ‘Caring For Our Carers’ project. The project includes Carer Support Groups to provide information, advice and health and wellbeing activities for carers of people with dementia in Kilkeel, Ballymartin, Rostrevor, Warrenpoint, Newry, Bessbrook and Markethill.
Marie Fintan from the Happiness Café said:
“Caring takes an enormous toll on the carer, physically and emotionally. This very welcome funding will allow us to deliver ‘Caring For Our Carers’, to provide information, advice and health and wellbeing activities for those caring for people with dementia. In parallel with this we will also provide specialist support for the people with dementia, so their carers can avail of the programme knowing their loved ones are being looked after.”
Orchardville Society based in North Down operates a specialist employment service and social enterprise, working in partnership with young people and adults with autism and learning difficulties. They have been awarded £70,100 towards the expansion of services in North Down and Lisburn to provide weekend and extended weekday respite sessions, as well as a programme of carer support activities.
Lydia Lynas from Orchardville Society said:
“Carers provide such an important role in society, but it often goes hidden, unnoticed and can take an enormous toll on the individual. We’re supporting carers who have family members with a learning disability or autism and this funding will help to provide additional respite care on weekdays and weekends, giving them some much needed time out. It will also support a programme of activities which focus on the carer themselves and supporting and improving their wellbeing.”
The next round of the Carers Support Fund will open for applications in April 2022.