Health bus aims to help those dedicated to looking after others
A HEALTH bus has put wheels into motion to help raise awareness of carers.
And on board is one woman who knows all too well the physical and mental strain of looking after others.
Former carer of nine years Christine Wallis, of Grimsby, looked after her mother-in-law, mum and dad prior to their deaths – the most recent being her mum who died in January.
Now the 57-year-old has hitched a ride on the latest campaign that will deliver advice and guidance to others like her.
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A carers health bus, packed with individuals from various organisations including Care Trust Plus (CTP), Young People's Support Service, a parent carer support worker from North East Lincolnshire Council, Adult Social Care, end-of-life care service and more, will be stopping at all supermarkets across North East Lincolnshire during the next few months.
Their aim is to reach out to those already registered as a carer, but more so to the area's unknown carers.
Debbie Burres, carers project co-ordinator for CTP, said: "We know there are already more than 15,000 carers in North East Lincolnshire, but so many just do not realise it.
"By bringing out this health bus until the end of March, we are trying to engage with those who do not see themselves as a carer but, in fact, are and qualify for a lot of support in return.
"Most people who are carers, are too busy to think about themselves and that is why we developed this bus.
"Taking it to supermarkets aims to catch unsung carers who may be dashing in to pick up some bread or milk.
"From financial advice and health matters to making sure people are aware of end-of-life care and support available – this bus is a one-stop-shop for it all."
North East Lincolnshire already has a carers centre – part of The George Hardwick Foundation, in Victoria Street, Grimsby.
After looking after her three family members, Christine set up the first dementia carers support group at the venue.
She said: "My mum and mother-in-law both suffered from this, it killed my mother-in-law in February 2011.
"Unfortunately my mum's deteriorating health was too much for my dad and it caused his own health to worsen and he died in April last year.
"I gave up work and became a full-time carer for all three of them over the years.
"You become socially isolated more than anything because you are constantly doing things for someone else.
"Having a carers' social group to attend is great, it gives you that break away and you are able to talk to others who can relate to your situation.
"As a carer you do not have a prognosis, you don't know how long you can be in that role for, so it helps to have these multiple services available to offer help and guidance.
"It is encouraging news that more awareness is being made to carers, I just hope people step forward and receive the support they are entitled to."
Anyone wanting to talk to a Carer Support Worker, call 01472 571120.
Or to get in touch with the North East Lincolnshire Carers Centre, call 08453025525.
The carers health bus will be calling at stores across North East Lincolnshire.
Its next stop is at Ramsdens, Cleethorpes Road, Grimsby, on Thursday, December 20, and Friday, December 21.
In addition, people are invited to attend a Carers Rights Day on Friday, November 30.
The North East Lincolnshire Carers Centre, part of the George Hardwick Foundation, has organised the event, from 10am to 3pm.
Carol singing, advice and information about carers and mince pies will all be available on the day at Age UK, Osborne Street, Grimsby.