Emotional support (includes befriending, counselling and support groups)

Our aim is to offer a friendly, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere for carers to talk about aspects of their caring role, confidentially in a non-judgmental way.  You can drop into the centre and talk in confidence to a member of staff about any aspect of your caring role.  Alternatively, a member of staff can support you over the telephone or arrange to meet with you at a time and a place that suits you.  We can also arrange for more specialist support if required.

Befriending and friendship
As a carer you may feel isolated and just need someone to connect with.  Caring can be incredibly emotionally draining and coupled with a lack of support networks, carers can often find themselves close to breaking point.

In these instances, our Befriending Service might be able to help.  You could gain support from a fully trained volunteer from our Befriending Service, offering support with caring issues, health, worries, confidence building and of course, support to develop a better social life.  The team are here to offer a listening ear, through regular phone calls.

We also understand how time is precious for carers and sometimes a phone call isn’t the most convenient method of communicating.  Accordingly, we have expanded our Befriending Services by connecting carers to volunteer befrienders who can regularly offer support though emails or letter writing.

For carers who are deaf or hard of hearing, writing a letter or even an email can be ideal for those who want a lighter befriending option that fits in with their caring role.

Our Volunteer Coordinator, Joe Cobb said “It can make a world of difference to connect with someone who has some idea of what you’re going through.  Developing the befriending service in this way will help us to build more relationships with isolated carers.  The current pandemic and continued restrictions can make everyone feel lonely and has meant that we continue to be physically distanced from each other. This leaves many carers feeling further disconnected.

Our volunteer befrienders are matched to carers to provide companionship and emotional support and give them information on a range of activities and services that can help them increase their confidence and sociability.”

The feedback we get from carers about this service is overwhelmingly positive.  Befriending makes a significant positive impact on their lives and helps them sustain the role of carer for longer.

To benefit from any of our befriending services, please contact us to get started.  Email: info@wlcccarers.com, call 01942 697885 or write to us Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre, 3-5 Frederick Street, Hindley, Wigan, WN2 3BD.

Counselling services
Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre are increasingly supporting carers with their own anxiety and mental health, as well as assisting in a huge number of practical ways.  We know that being a carer can be challenging at times, which is why our friendly and compassionate team are with you every step of the way to make sure you receive the best possible support.

We operate a free and confidential counselling service to adult carers and former carers registered with the service.

Areas covered by counselling can include:

Relationships within the family
Illness, accident or trauma
Recently we have teamed up with Making Space a wellbeing service in the area, and now have access to a qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP) who can offer a one-to-one assessment with you to find out what kind of support would suit you best.

This may include access to:

Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) and one-to-one treatment sessions for carers with depression and/or anxiety.  The treatment offered involves the use of guided self-help that takes you through the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and helps to enable behaviour change.
Person-centred phone or face-to-face counselling through our in-house counsellors.  This process is based around talking things through and helping you to realise your own coping strategies or allowing you to talk in a safe space.
Referral to other appropriate forms of therapy via other local support services.
Counselling sessions last approximately one hour and offer complete confidentiality.  Due to the high demand for this service, there may be a waiting list.  Carers are usually allocated eight sessions, but this can be amended.

Joe Cobb, Volunteer Coordinator at WLCC says “Many people undertaking a caring role can benefit from counselling.  This is especially true if you feel the impacts of caring are affecting your mental or physical health.  For many caregivers, a huge amount of their time is spent on others.  This allows them little time to focus on themselves.  Counselling sessions can help with this.  We are delighted to be working with Making Space to offer this service to carers.”

Emma Kay, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at Making Space says “At Making Space we understand that while caring for a family member or loved one is a very generous and selfless thing to do, it can also take its toll on your own health and wellbeing.  It is at these times when it is important to have the help and support of people who understand the positive steps that can be taken to aid recovery.”

If you would like to find out more about our Counselling Service, please get in touch.

Social and support groups

Many carers find it helpful to attend a support group and/or participate in activities.  Here at WLCC we provide the opportunity to meet other carers in the same situation as you who will understand what you are going through, enabling you to share experiences and have a chat in an informal and friendly setting.

Carer support groups are usually small, with members meeting informally to discuss various topics.

These groups can help carers:

  • Cope with caring responsibilities
  • Meet, discuss and learn from other carers in similar situations
  • Alleviate isolation
  • Support each other
  • Receive emotional and social support and information

Groups are usually free but there can be a small charge for refreshments or car parking (if in the community).

For the most up-to-date list of group events, please visit our events booking page.

Our groups are held on a regular basis and this enables you to build relationships within the group. You may find that you make new friends and that your social life improves as a result.  We also use the groups to share tips on ways of coping, and there is often a great deal of fun and laughter to be had.

If you would like to join one of our friendly support groups, please book online, by calling 01942 697885 or emailing: info@wlcccarers.com.  If you have a suggestion for a support group or would prefer one-to-one support, please get in touch.

Information, signposting and advice – Empowering carers

Caring for someone you love is a selfless act that is undoubtedly appreciated by the person you’re caring for.  Despite this, being a carer can be difficult as it impacts upon several areas of your life. Carers tell us that talking to someone who understands the caring role and having relevant up-to-date information is crucial.  Sometimes the range of information available to you may be bewildering, or sometimes there may not be enough information available. Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre can help you access what is right for you.

With a wealth of experience in the health and social care sector, we provide a wide range of information, signposting and advice both within WLCC and from other carefully selected bodies.  We can also offer information about your rights as a carer and guide you through the Carer’s Assessment process (see above).

Our aim is to empower carers to make informed choices and provide specialist advice for the right support for you and your caring needs.  We can help you ensure your voice is heard to get the services that will support you in your caring role.  Even if we do not know an answer to your question(s) we will know someone who does.  We aim to provide a service accessible to all, so please get in touch if you have any additional needs.

Registering as a carer with your GP

Here at WLCC we can help you to register your details with your doctor’s practice so that your notes are tagged to indicate you are a carer or that the patient is a cared-for person.  It will help your GP if they are aware of your caring role and the potential impact of your caring responsibilities on your own health.  The doctor’s receptionist can then also take account of your needs as a carer when trying to arrange appointment times that fit in with your caring role.

Carer’s rights/Welfare rights

Often caring responsibilities mean that your finances are hit.  You may have given up work to be an unpaid carer or reduced your hours and are now worried about money.  The benefits system is complicated, with each benefit having its own set of rules.  There are many different benefits for carers and their cared for, and working out what benefits you might be entitled to can feel like a battle.  Having the right information and support can make a huge difference.

Every person is unique and so we provide free confidential advice to carers and their families through telephone and appointment service, offering in-depth advice on various issues, including but not limited to:

  • Advice on any and all welfare benefits for low-income families
  • Completion of claim/benefit forms – for example DLA (Disability Living Allowance), PIP (Personal Independence Payment), Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance forms etc.
  • Housing/Landlord and tenant
  • Employment

If you would like to speak to someone here at WLCC about what benefits you may be entitled to you can call 01942 697885 or email: info@wlcccarers.com.  Alternatively, there are several other organisations who can give you advice on benefits:

  • The GOV.UK website has more information about benefits and how to claim them.
  • Citizen’s Advice has information about benefits, tax credits, council tax and housing costs.
  • The Money Advice Service has further information and advice about the benefits system.
  • Turn2Us is a charity supporting people to get back on track and access what they are entitled to.  Their free benefits calculator and grants search tools will help you find financial support you may be able to access.
  • Carers Trust.
  • Carers UK.

Respite/Breaks/Time for you

Even the most dedicated carers sometimes long for some time for themselves, when they can stop, relax and think about them for a change, even if only for a little while.

For this reason, we offer a range of activities which can help carers get a break from their caring role.  Most activities are just for carers, so that you get a real break from caring, but occasionally we organise activities which are open to carers and the person they care for.

For a list of current events, please see our list of events and activities.

We may also be able to help you to apply for a grant to have a break with or without your cared for person.  Please contact us for more information.

We have also launched the Mytime service which connects carers with local hotels, restaurants and other businesses offering free overnight stays, afternoon teas, spa days, theatre tickets, and more.  The idea of the scheme is to give carers space to relax and recharge, and offer some social interaction, helping them return to their caring role with renewed energy and confidence.

We know that as a carer, looking after a family member or friend can affect your physical health and mental well-being.  Having time for yourself is so important and this is the reason Mytime was developed.

For more information please visit mytime4carers.co.uk or call 07545 652775.

Training, information and education for carers

Carers can often find themselves thrown into a role with little or no training in what can sometimes be a very difficult and stressful time.  Why not come along to one of our many training and information sessions to support and help you in your caring role and gain an important sense of clarity?

Training courses are provided at a range of times and cover a wide selection of topics.  Some are aimed at carers having a bit of time to themselves whilst taking part in an enjoyable activity, others can help you to learn new skills, which can make life easier, or focus on skills for careers and employment.  Accessing training can also lead to improved health and wellbeing, helping you feel less stressed and more prepared to care.

We are committed to providing you with training in all aspects of your caring role, from dementia care to mental health or perhaps learning a new skill such as reiki.  We also offer a number of practical health and wellbeing workshops covering a variety of topics such as mindfulness, stress management and relaxation.

The Carers Centre’s training programme changes every quarter.  It has regular sessions each quarter but also offers new training opportunities, often requested by carers themselves or to meet a gap in training identified by the referrals we receive or the conversations we have with carers.

If you are a carer and would like to learn something we don’t currently offer, why not give us a ring and we will try to find something locally?  We will also add your name to the expression of interest list and if we have enough interest from other carers, will look at the possibility of providing a training session in the future.

If you would like to sign up for a course, please book online.

Equipment needs or replacements

If you have essential home equipment which has become damaged or stopped working, we may be able to assist you in accessing funds/grants to replace it.  This could be for something like a washing machine or a bed.  Young carers may need a computer or a tablet to assist with homework or tackling social isolation. Whatever this may be, we will look into what grants are available at the time of your request.

For further information, please visit this site.