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Islington Giving Carers’ Panel awards seven new grants!

The Carers’ Fund, generously supported by The Mercers’ Company and co-developed with local carers and carer’s groups, is dedicated to supporting Islington’s unpaid carers. Here’s a look at the impactful projects we’ve recently funded.

There are around 16,300 unpaid carers in Islington, providing physical, emotional and/or behavioural support. Carers are disproportionately affected by poverty, poor mental health and isolation, but their voices are often left out of decision-making processes.

Building on the approach taken through the Golden Grant Makers we meet with carers to talk to them about their experiences of living in Islington, and what services, support and activities they would most like to see more of in the borough. We then invited a small group of residents who have experience of unpaid caring responsibilities to join our steering group and help us make final decisions about how funding should be spent.

Awarded grants

Islington Mind, Mother to Mother: Out of the 70 carers who access Islington Mind, 68% are female. Additionally, 37% are from racialised communities, 20% are older adults aged 60+, and 11% are LGBTQI+. With the pressures of caring duties alongside the cost-of-living crisis, many of these carers struggle to afford basic goods, access work opportunities, and attend community activities.

Mother to Mother, held weekly at Islington Mind, supports mothers of people with mental health concerns. The project provided wellbeing activities, therapies, and outings for carers. Activities include yoga, relaxation classes, reflexology, ear acupuncture, coach trips to the seaside, Kew Gardens, The British Museum. The project works to reduce isolation, improve wellbeing, and foster social connections.

Islington Mind: Talking Therapies Clinic: The project will expand talking therapy programmes, weekly sessions using various therapeutic modalities, for 16 additional carers. The clinic focuses on reaching carers from minoritised communities and diverse backgrounds who struggle to access and engage with mainstream mental health services – for example people from BAME and/or LGBTQ+ communities. The project is coordinated by BACP accredited therapists, involving volunteer therapists for client support.

The Parent House: SEND Friends: The project works to support parents and carers looking after children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Activities will include peer-support group sessions, peer Action Learning for problem-solving, SEND workshops, and a wellbeing spa day. The aim is to provide meaningful support to 150 parents of SEND children, enhance peer support networks, improve navigation of SEND processes, and provides respite for parents.

“We want to use our knowledge of resident led giving, but also to test an approach, which will ensure as many carers as possible have some part in the process.” ~Islington Giving

Kinship: The projects aims to provide training and alleviate financial concerns for kinship carers, heightened during this cost-of-living crisis. Support will include grants for essentials like household items and children’s needs. A part-time grants officer will coordinate support. Improving financial stability and access, the project will support 25 kinship families.

Community Language Support Services (CLSS) will provide direct financial support and activities for carers in need.

Community Language Support Services (CLSS): The project aims to provide direct financial support to carers in need. Through its work, CLSS have identified that carers often fall through the gaps and their needs are left unmet by statutory services and supporting agencies. Many carers are struggling with social isolation and loneliness, poverty, depression, and lack of adequate support. Moreover, some carers also have no recourse to public funds and are unable to work to support themselves due to their caring responsibilities or illnesses.

Through vital support activities and individual grants including emergency funds, the project will support carers mainly from East Africa and Arabic speaking communities. Activities will include outreach, home visits, women’s groups, and health awareness sessions. The project will be held at St. Mellitus Church and span over three years.

“It was very humbling and inspiring to hear what people go through and their strength to keep going. [The cares panel] was a very rewarding experience making the final decisions, knowing it would be helping many carers who often do not receive the recognition they deserve.” ~ Sarah Page, Carers Panel member, and Mother2Mother participant 

Manor Gardens Welfare Trust: Held over a six-month period, activities will include weekly support groups, monthly workshops, and quarterly social events. Based in Islington, locations will vary to ensure accessibility, including community centre’s, local parks, and online platforms for virtual events. Services will be delivered through a combination of in-house staff, trained volunteers, and collaboration with local organisations. The initiative aims to provide varied and accessible support, fostering community engagement and peer support.

ADHD Islington: The project currently supports over 356 carers with increasing demand for support. The awarded grant will be spread over three years and include activities such as additional support sessions, wellbeing groups, one-on-one talking sessions, grants, and benefits advice. They also plan to set up a website for 24-hour support and provide laptops for form completion. Working with several partners in Islington, including HOYD, Islington Council, Family Fund, and Islington youth clubs including the Rose Bowl, the project aims to reach more carers in need, offering flexible and accessible support, reducing isolation, and enhancing wellbeing.

Featured image: Impact Report launch 2024, left to right: Jordan and Freya, Young Grant Makers, Anne, Programme Manager at Islington Giving & our parent charity, Cripplegate Foundation, Champika and Sarah, Carers Panellists. 

 

Carers’ Fund report

In early 2024 Islington Giving ran a fund for carers. This took a participatory approach, consulting with carers and carers’ organisations to shape the model,

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