It unknowingly began way back in the late 1980’s when our founder’s Grandparents, long retired and 70yrs plus, moved to Ffostrassol in Wales (West Wales at that), which couldn’t be much further west from where they previously lived near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. (East Anglia).
Unfortunately and unknown to Simon’s family, one of his Grandparents had Alzheimers. This was the underlying cause for them to move to Wales, his grandparents were from Manchester and had family connections with Wales back to his one of his Grandparent’s childhood. For those who have an understanding of Alzheimers, you’ll appreciate the connection with a desire for the person to resume childhood memories and a childlike state of mind.
For our founder, Simon Brown, of course all the reasons for this whole change on family circumstances wasn’t clear. It’s just what happens. Holidays to Wales were great, beaches wonderful and it wasn’t too dissimilar to Suffolk. Lovely rolling countryside.
These trips though, were coupled with journeys as a family and with his father to visit his Grandparents. His Grandad was the family carer for his Nanna. A 546 mile round trip each visit. 6-7 hour drive. Pending traffic and a stop or 3. Before they moved to Wales, it was a 15 minute drive.
A lived experience watching his Grandad as a carer, then his Dad as the carer for his Grandad, who passed away before his Nanna and all with a 546 mile round trip.
And more recently, well over the past 12 years, our founder himself has been undertaking a carer’s role. Bizarrely and like so many other people, not realising it. It’s what we do, being supportive and caring for our family.
7 years ago, Simon changed his working world from the London and digital agency world to one that enabled a better work-life balance and focussed on doing something that supported people in a less fortunate position. Through this work, which involved providing respite and relaxation activities for family carers, came the evidenced need that family carers required much more in depth support.
After much striving (since 2015) to get this greater, more comprehensive and different channel of support launched into the public domain with recognition from local Government and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, the first and major step has been made. During this time we have given every ounce of effort, our own financial input, resource and partnership support. We make no bones that it has take a great deal of input, kindness, commitment and passion from many people.
The great outcome of this though, is that FamilyCarersNet has launched. For Carers, By Carers.
Our story from here, well, it’s more of a journey to where we go and bringing as many people, carers and all, employers, health professionals, local Government and authorities, NHS clinical commissioning groups, charities and community groups together throughout the UK so we can form a wider, deeper and stronger network.
So much great support is already being delivered for carers, our journey is to collaborate with this, harness it and all join together to make life for a family carer, improved, healthier and happier.
We hope you’ll be part of this.