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Carers group has successful run helping people in the fight against isolation

PUBLISHED: 15:55 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 12 June 2017

Juanita Cutler-Spencer set up the Wells Carer's Support Group with a friend ten years ago. Picture: Ian Burt

Juanita Cutler-Spencer set up the Wells Carer's Support Group with a friend ten years ago. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Extreme isolation and loneliness, which saw a woman from north Norfolk house-bound for three weeks at a time, was the inspiration behind a successful carers support group in Wells.

Juanita Spencer, of Theatre Road, cared for her husband Jack for more than a decade, after he developed dementia and survived a number of strokes, before he died in January 2011.

During that time, the 78-year-old said she had felt extremely isolated, especially during the first few years.

All this week, as part of Carers’ Week 2017, we are speaking to those who care to highlight the important work they do.

“The main challenge when you’re a carer is getting support,” she said. “It’s the cutbacks. There used to be so much more opportunities for carers for a break and respite.

“For three years I could not leave the house for three weeks at a time. I couldn’t go out and I had to have my shopping delivered. After three years I found out about Crossroads charity, but then that closed.”

Mrs Spencer blamed the lack of available support on “red tape and regulations”. She said it made it harder for volunteers to help because of the checks they have to go through to work with vulnerable people.

“Carers really have it rough. You have to jump through hoops constantly and you can’t take care of yourself properly. Eventually it effects your whole health.”

This is why the Wells and District Carers Support Group, set up ten years ago, is a vital lifeline to the people who use it, she explained.

“The main objective for the group is to give carers a chance to get away from the situation they are in and stay and relax with a cuppa and talk with people who know what it’s all about and understand.

“It’s an all inclusive group for past and present carers. We try to keep it informative. It’s to relax and get people chatting and talking, solving problems.

“It makes it all worthwhile when you can help a carer to smile again.”

*The group meets on the second Thursday of every month at Peter Collingwood Hall, Wells Methodist Church, Theatre Road, NR23 1DJ. For more details ring Norfolk Carers Support on 01603 219924.

• For more on working in care, see our special supplement in your EDP on Monday June 20.

• • Norfolk Carers is the funded organisation to support carers in Norfolk, delivered through the charity Norfolk Carers Support. Call their advice line on 0808 808 9876.

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