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Events across Norfolk and Suffolk in support of Carers Week

An NHS trust will take part in a series of events across Norfolk and Suffolk next week to celeb​rate Carers Week.

They include four “picnic in the park” events, an afternoon cream tea and a “tea and cake drop-in”.

Many of the activities have been organised by carers leads working for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) whose role is to support carers looking after loved ones with a mental health condition.

Carers Week, which this year runs 10-16 June, is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Diane Hull, NSFT’s Chief Nurse, said: “The love and support that carers provide, often alone, is priceless and, unfortunately, too easily overlooked.

“That’s why it’s so very important that we celebrate what they do. Holding events like this, and marking Carers Week, is like saying ‘thank you’, because the support they provide, helps us all.

“On a daily basis and without complaint, they put their own needs to one side while they care for people close to them – and looking after someone with a mental health condition can be challenging. It takes a lot of courage and a lot of love. 

“I hope these events show how much we appreciate the vital caring they do, gives them a well-deserved break and makes them aware of the services that can help and support them, such as our Trust’s network of carers leads in Norfolk and Suffolk to support the people who care for others in our communities.

“I hope they know that they do not have to do this alone and that we appreciate all that they do.”

Events in Suffolk

A "picnic in the park" for carers will be held in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, on Monday, 10 June, 12noon-2pm. For more information, phone Julie Williams, Carers Lead, Bury St Edmunds South, on 01284 733188.

A “picnic in the park” will take place at Christchurch Park, Ipswich, on Tuesday, 11 June, 12noon-2pm and there will be a fish and chips event between the same times on Thursday, 13 June at a beach hut in Felixstowe that will include a seafront ride on a road train. Carers wishing to attend either event need to book in advance by phoning any of the three following NSFT Carers Leads: Jay Chandler 01473 341100, Eddie Cross 01449 745200 or Neil Broadway 01473 279200.

There will also be a “picnic in the park” at Kensington Gardens, Lowestoft, on Thursday, 13 June, 12noon-2.30pm, for carers and families, which will be hosted by the Waveney Community Mental Health Team. As well as Trust staff, representatives from other organisations, including Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Family Carers, Citizens Advice and Sue Ryder, will be on hand. Carers and families will have an opportunity to try out tai chi.

Events in Norfolk

NSFT will take part in the Carers Information Day at The Forum, Norwich, on Monday, 10 June, 9am-3pm, which is being organised by the Care for Carers support organisation. The day is designed to help carers, the cared for, ex-carers, older people, the lonely and the vulnerable.

Among those attending from NSFT will be Pip Everett, one of its carers leads, Sita Wilkerson-Roe from the Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS); and carers who look after people with a mental health condition.

Many organisations and companies will be involved, including Norwich Family Carers, The Alzheimer’s Society and the British Red Cross, and there are expected to be more than 70 stalls with information about services for carers and their families. Admission is free.

Two events will be held in West Norfolk to give carers an opportunity to take a break from looking after loved ones. 

On Tuesday, 11 June, 10.30am-1pm, carers are invited to join NSFT staff in the grounds of Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough. Admission will be free and complimentary refreshments will be provided.

The following day, Wednesday, 12 June, a “picnic in the park” will be held in The Walks, King’s Lynn. Carers, who are being asked to bring their own picnic and blanket, will meet at the bandstand at 12noon.

Katrina Squires, NSFT Participation Lead for West and North Norfolk, said the main purpose of both events was to give carers a break but staff from NSFT teams and third sector support organisations would be on hand to talk about the help that is available. To promote the benefits of health and wellbeing of carers, there will be taster activities such as relaxation, meditation and yoga. Anyone wanting more information should contact Katrina by email at

In addition, a pilot will be launched during the week which will involve members of NSFT’s dementia care and older person teams, such as nurses and support workers, teaming up with mobile libraries to reach the more remote corners of West Norfolk. The aim is for carers to build connections in their local community to reduce isolation and loneliness.

The family and friends of current and recent inpatients at Hellesdon Hospital are invited to a “tea and cake drop-in” at Harnser House at the hospital on Wednesday, 12 June, 2pm-4pm, which will include a free nail bar and hand massages. Carers who drop in will also be able to find out about the support that is available to them.

Tiff Cecchini, an NSFT mental health nurse who works in family liaison, will give mental health awareness training sessions to carers aged between 12 and 16 who help to look after family members with a mental health condition. The invitation-only sessions, which will each last one hour, will take place at Marlpit Community Centre and Pilling Park Community Centre, both Norwich, on Wednesday, 12 June and Thursday, 13 June respectively. All the youngsters who will take part belong to Norfolk Family Carers’ Young Carers Group. These will be the first training sessions of their kind but it is hoped they will take place regularly in the future.

A “carers’ afternoon cream tea” will be held at Northgate Hospital, Great Yarmouth, on Thursday, 13 June for unpaid carers looking after someone with a mental health condition. It will take place in the Harbours Room in the main hospital block, and carers can drop in at any point between 12 noon and 3pm. Representatives of Age Concern Norfolk, Norfolk Family Carers and Carers Matter Norfolk will be on hand to provide carers with advice and support. For more information, contact Howard Tidman by phone on 07557 290169 or by email at

Staff from NSFT’s North Central Older People’s Community Team, which is based at the Julian Hospital, Norwich, will take part in a carers event at Wells Community Hospital on Thursday, 13 June, 1pm-4pm, which is being organised by Carers Matter Norfolk. They will be able to provide information about support services for carers and the older people’s mental health team in North Norfolk. Light refreshments will be available. The day is for carers, families, community groups and health professionals.

Carers Lead case study: Neil Broadway, Carers Lead, Suffolk Coastal

As far as Neil Broadway is concerned, unpaid carers are NSFT’s biggest asset, which means he is passionate about his job as Carers Lead for the Coastal Integrated Delivery Team (IDT).

Based at Walker Close, Ipswich, he supports carers of people who have a mental health condition registered at one GP practice in Ipswich and practices elsewhere, such as those in Felixstowe, Leiston and Saxmundham, and drives about 200 miles a week to do so.

It is a role that Neil, who is 44, took up in June 2017 after a varied career which has included two spells working in the United States, in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, as a counsellor with young people.

“Unpaid family carers are our Trust’s biggest asset who provide phenomenal support to people with a mental health condition,” he said. “They don’t often get the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

“For the first time the Care Act 2014 gave carers certain rights, which include having an assessment of their own needs.

“In Suffolk, the county council has outsourced these assessments of carers for people with a mental health condition to NSFT, and I undertake these in various venues, including the carer’s own home.

“There’s a variety of support for carers in Suffolk but it’s not always easy for them to know what’s out there and how to access it. Part of my role is to signpost carers to the help that’s available, such as that offered by Suffolk Family Carers which includes one-off courses, one-to-one support and workshops.”

Neil, who has his own lived experience of a mental health condition, is also involved in ensuring that carers have an opportunity to shape and improve mental health services. For example, he’s a member of the Trust’s co-production panel and in January this year attended the organisation’s first “NSFT Service Users and Carers Away Day”, which will become regular events so that the experience and expertise of service users and carers can be used to make improvements.

He works closely with the carers leads linked to Suffolk’s four other IDTs and is involved in carers support groups, including the Carers Drop-in Group, which he helped set up last year to support people in east and central Suffolk who are caring for loved ones with a mental health condition.

“Being a carers lead is a vast role and I get pulled in many directions, but I love it, especially the variety and meeting people from different organisations,” said Neil. “I love talking and engaging with people and find it easy to do, so I’m well-suited for this job.

“I’ve had many different jobs in the past but I find this role very fulfilling and I’m happy to carry on doing it for the foreseeable future."

Initially, he trained and qualified as a chef and, as well as working overseas, his career has included being a support worker in Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment (CRHT) teams at St Clements Hospital, Ipswich, and in Colchester, and working in a reablement team at Ipswich Hospital.

Pictured: Four of NSFT's Carers Leads (left to right): Eddie Cross (Central Suffolk), Neil Broadway (Suffolk Coastal), Julie Williams (Bury St Edmunds South) and Jay Chandler (Ipswich).

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