FREE retreats for front-line carers during the pandemic are being offered by the diocese of Carlisle and a Christian charity.
The “Care for the carers” initiative will offer 45 carers retreats this autumn and winter at Rydal Hall, the diocese’s retreat centre, near Ambleside. The retreats are open to any carers in Cumbria, regardless of faith.
The initiative was the idea of the Revd Professor Stephen Wright, spiritual director of the Sacred Space Foundation, who has had a long career in nursing and is a visiting professor of nursing at the University of Cumbria.
He said: “We’ve all clapped for our carers, and now it’s time we proactively cared for them, too. That is what this project is all about.
“We’re well aware of the burnout and exhaustion that so many are facing, and so we just want to do our best to help their recovery in some small way. It will be an opportunity for individuals to recharge their batteries in whatever way they want to: to read, to walk, to enjoy Rydal’s grounds, to talk, one to one or in groups. It would be completely up to them.”
So far, 45 rooms have been reserved at cost price for NHS staff and carers, and a fund-raising campaign has begun to raise the £20,000 needed to cover this year’s costs, and offer another retreat to more carers next year.
More than £11,000 in donations has already come in, and three local MPs have backed the campaign.
The MP for Barrow and Furness, Simon Fell, said: “It is so important to recognise that people who care for others need time to be able to look after themselves, and this project will give carers an opportunity to switch off and relax.”
Mr Wright said that the response to the campaign had been “overwhelmingly positive” so far. “Donations are coming in steadily, mostly from individuals so far, with a couple of local businesses and parishes donating.
“It’s a great way to say ‘thank you’ that actually helps restore someone, and a little like this goes a long way. Who knows how someone helped by this will contribute to health and social care in the future, after they have been helped in this way? The money is, therefore, a long-term investment, too.”