Welcome to Carers Support Centre, Bristol
Carers Support Centre, a trusted partner of Carers Trust, is dedicated to providing vital support and guidance to carers across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Our Walk & Talk Program
Since 2022, we have proudly offered our Walk & Talk service, specially tailored for carers. These 90-minute walks, spanning six weeks, play a pivotal role in our mission, offering a multitude of advantages, including:
- Social Connection: A welcoming environment for carers seeking companionship and combating loneliness.
- Physical Fitness: An opportunity to boost physical health.
- Mental Well-being: A chance to nurture mental health while enjoying the great outdoors.
During these walks, we strive to foster community bonds by connecting carers, exploring city parks and open spaces, and forming partnerships with local organisations. To ensure a personalized experience, each walk is limited to a maximum of six participants, allowing for meaningful conversations with our walk leaders.
Our dedicated walk leaders oversee the walks, offering one-to-one support for carers and referring them to additional free services and local support, including memory cafes. Each walk is themed around a well-being topic, such as resilience.
We understand the importance of socialisation, and our program provides a comfortable, non-clinical environment.
Our program extends its reach to both carers and those they care for, often facing Alzheimer's or dementia challenges. To ensure their comfort and support, we provide an extra person to accompany and assist this group.
Moreover, we recognize the effectiveness of Nordic walking, particularly for individuals with breast cancer due to its arm-intensive movements.
Sustainability & Diversity
Sustainability is integral to our program, with many carers continuing their walks beyond the initial six-week program. We offer various walk options to cater to different abilities and fitness levels, including an advanced walking group for experienced participants.
Our commitment to inclusivity drives us to expand our services further. We plan to introduce parent carer walks, walks for male carers, and walks for non-English-speaking carers, with translators to bridge language gaps. Our successful Chinese carer groups, formed due to high demand, exemplify our dedication to reaching underrepresented communities.
Many participants from our Walk & Talk program have become volunteers, contributing to our organisation's growth. We actively promote our walks through the NHS and social prescribers, with dedicated volunteers, many of whom are carers themselves, supporting our walk leaders.
We address transport and accessibility barriers by starting walks in parks along public transport routes and ensuring each walking route has accessible toilets.
Fear of not being fit enough should never deter carers. To encourage newcomers, we organise a walk as part of the 'Bristol Fest' event, providing a chance to try walking before committing to regular sessions. The success of these sessions led us to organise more "give it a try" sessions, allowing carers to experience a "taster" and decide whether they would like to join a group.
In the future, we aim to support the Somali community in Bristol with walking and associated services, although finding interpreters may present challenges. We also plan to host a walk during Black History Month to engage more ethnically diverse carers and further promote the Carers Active Hub resources.
We diligently measure our impact by administering health questionnaires at the start of the program to identify carers who may require special support during Walk & Talk sessions. Additionally, we assess our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by having carers complete health questionnaires before joining a group and survey questionnaires about their well-being. After completing the program, carers revisit these well-being questions, allowing us to measure the service's impact.
Our achievements include:
- Identifying 20% of carers previously unknown to us through outreach programs.
- Engaging 34% male carers, demonstrating higher-than-normal engagement rates in support services.
- Welcoming participants, with over 88% aged 50 or older.
- Encouraging 63% to increase their physical activity levels.
- Fostering a sense of connection, as 67% reported an increase in social connections and reduced isolation.
- Supporting ongoing engagement, with 55% continuing to walk with other carers on a weekly or fortnightly basis after the group sessions conclude.
Case Study: Mr Smith
"For many years, I have cared for my wife Mary who has schizophrenia and many other health complications. I have become extremely isolated since becoming a carer, some weeks I won't speak with anyone other than my wife. I decided to join the Walk and Talk group to meet other people. I now feel more hopeful. Thanks to the walk leader's support and information, I now know how to access services, and feel more able to cope in my caring role and feel less isolated."
Join us in our commitment to the well-being and support of carers in our community.