Festive message from Chief Executive Michèle Stokes

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We would like to wish our volunteers and supporters as well as unpaid carers Season's Greetings.

We also extend our heartfelt thanks to our supporters and dedicated volunteers, many of whom care for someone themselves. You all play a vital role in helping us support unpaid carers, looking after a relative, friend or loved one, so they do not feel alone or overwhelmed with their caring role.

It’s been a busy year for the charity as we have been developing our services to meet carers' changing needs. Among our highlights are:

  •  Piloting a work experience programme for young carers where we helped nine young carers, aged 16, who were struggling to find work placements into roles that interested them.
  • The introduction of a Carers Advocacy Support Worker, who helps carers prepare for assessments, complete forms, make complaints and guides them in speaking up for themselves.
  •  The expansion of our support for parent carers as a new team member is working with parents whose children are transitioning from child to adult services as well as supporting people with an adult son or daughter with learning disabilities
  • More weekend crisis mental health beds were created and additional dementia support staff and respite beds following  our lobbying for better support for carers looking after someone with dementia or mental illness.

Most importantly, we are pleased to be identifying and reaching more carers as we are registering an average of 350 people each month. This means more carers are getting access to advice, training opportunities and other services to make their caring role easier.

We appreciate many carers will not get a break at Christmas – a chance to put their feet up and relax – as they are looking after someone 24/7. However, we will continue to be there for them. Our Carer Support Advisors will work up to 3.30pm on December 23rd and are back from Tuesday 29th December, with New Year’s Day off.

Other places you could turn to during the festive season are:


If you, a family member or friend feel unwell or under the weather during the holiday period remember you can:

Call 111 – this is a NHS non-emergency number and is fast and free. You can speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and direct you to the best medical care for you. NHS 111 is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies continue to call 999.

Visit a pharmacist – for advice and low-cost medicines to ease your symptoms. There will be a pharmacy open near you every day during Christmas and New Year, even on Christmas Day. To find out about the one near you please visit www.england.nhs.uk/mids-east/our-work/pharm-info

Click on to NHS Choices for self-care advice and information on thousands of illnesses or conditions. http://www.nhs.uk/


Transport such as buses and trains cut back during Christmas and the New Year you can find out about public transport cover during the festive season online at www.intalink.org.uk/news/christmas-new-year-services

The majority of bus services will not run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day although there are a few special services that are listed on the Intalink website.

Most Abellio Greater Anglia, Great Northern Route and Thameslink trains will stop by 11pm on Christmas Eve.

No trains will run on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. However there will be a special half hourly service on the Stanstead Express on Boxing Day, starting a 6am and ending at 12.30am the next morning.

You can also check out services by contacting Traveline  http://www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk/ or 0871 200 22 33 (0700-2200 daily, on all days except: Christmas Eve 0700-2000, Christmas Day closed, Boxing Day 0900-1700, New Year’s Day 0900-1700. Calls cost 12p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.) or contact the relevant Bus Operator. Click here for Operator Contact Details
PLEASE NOTE: Information for Coach Services is NOT included. For National Express Services http://www.nationalexpress.com/ or telephone 08717 81 81 81

Other services

If you or the person you care for receives meals on wheels from Hertfordshire Community Meals these should continue, unless you have told them otherwise, as they deliver meals 365 days a year. www.hertscommunitymeals.co.uk

Turning Point, a charity that provides support and services for people affected by mental health conditions, learning disability, substance misuse, and primary care, provides Hertfordshire NightLight. This is an out of hour’s crisis service and it will be open as normal from 6pm to 2am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. There is also a telephone helpline that is open from 8pm-midnight on same days and can be contacted on 01923 256391

For more information please visit www.turning-point.co.uk/hertfordshire-nightlight

Once again we wish you a very enjoyable Christmas and New Year. As we go into our 21st year in 2016 we look forward to continuing our work supporting and identifying unpaid carers and making a positive difference to their lives.


Michèle Stokes, Chief Executive

Last modified on Tuesday, 22 December 2015 11:35