People who provide around-the-clock care for a loved one are often doing so without adequate support, both financially and mentally.
Honiton Carers Support Group provides an invaluable source of information on the services available to carers in the community and more importantly respite within a supportive environment.
The woman who makes this incredible community initiative possible is Winnie Cameron. At 76-years-old, her energy and devotion to the cause is nothing short of inspirational.
“I took over running the group after I lost my husband, for whom I was the primary carer for many years,” Winnie explained.
“I was regularly attending a support group run by Devon Carers, who held sessions in Honiton with a co-ordinator; however they pulled the plug on funding and it was announced that she would no longer be visiting.
“Having hugely benefited from the support myself and knowing just how important it was for other carers locally; I offered to temporarily become key holder for the group so that we could continue the sessions in Honiton. That was in August 2104.
"By September 2015, we had become a totally independent organisation relying on funding from outside.
"The Co-op paid for the Methodist Church room hire and insurance for the first three years, which was fantastic and kept our group safe."
Winnie and a dedicated team of volunteers work tirelessly to raise money and provide a range of regular activities for the group; including trips out, public speakers, professional singers, cooking sessions and a wide variety of arts and crafts.
Honiton Carers Support Group has 72 members who are full-time caregivers, often receiving little or no financial support for carrying out a 24/7 care role.
“The Co-op in Lace Walk has been absolutely wonderful. I am currently applying for a third year as one of their local causes - cheeky I know - but I want to plan a post Covid-19 party for all the carers," Winnie continued.
“Last year we received £2115.70 from the Co-op Local Community Fund, donated by members, which paid for an outing to Roadford Lake along with a buffet while we were there.
“The remaining money went towards our Christmas lunch at the Blue Ball Inn in Sidford.
“We’ve already received £266 this year, as the first instalment of a biannual payout.
“The team there are fantastic and we are so grateful to them for supporting us,” she added.
For more information on Honiton Carers Support Group contact Winnie Cameron via email [email protected] or phone 07974 636926.