THE group met on Monday, January 8, and welcomed Cath Holloway from Spark Somerset, who is a frequent visitor and, as the Carers’ Support Group Development Co-ordinator, is always on hand for advice by phone and email but often pops in for those all-important face to face meetings with group members.

January, traditionally, with the group is a social event with no special speakers or fixed agendas; just a chance for people to catch up on Christmas events and general news, plus put forward some ideas for speakers the group would like to see in future months.

Suggestions included having a pharmacist visit to clarify their position - with GP appointments so scarce - and the changes at the GP surgeries now that carers’ champions have been replaced by care co-ordinators and social prescribers.

Cath has taken this on board and will be reporting back later in the spring.

The group are also keen for some local organisations and clubs to come to speak, plus they want to address some more serious issues, like funerals and services offered by Marie Curie.

It's not all doom and gloom though and six members performed an impromptu pantomime (Oh no they didn’t!) for the rest of the group.

‘Cinderella in 600 seconds’ featured Vivienne (Fairy Godmother), Mary (Orator), Marion (Buttons), Prince Charming (Mark), Cinderella (Kate) and an Ugly Sister (Cath).

Props included a glued together wand, an old school hat, a plastic tiara and three appalling wigs.

Later that week Kate McElligott was asked to speak about carers groups to the Dementia Partnership, who were meeting in the Chard Guildhall.

The VCFSE Somerset Dementia Partnership is a network of voluntary sector organisations supporting those living with dementia, their carers, and their families.

Group Leader Pat Galpin and Kate (who cared for her mother who had dementia) spent the morning talking to other organisations, such as Age UK Somerset, the Alzheimer’s Society, and Somerset Libraries, and also representatives from other carers group, care homes and the Chard Museum - who are always keen to find out how the museum can be more user friendly.

Of course, Chard Carers’ Support Group is not just for those caring for people with dementia as the group members cared for are experiencing many and diverse difficulties and illnesses.

Next month’s meeting of the Chard Carers’ Support Group will be Monday 12 February, 10.30-12.30 in the hall behind the English Martyrs Church at the traffic lights in Chard.

All unpaid carers are welcome - February is the 17 anniversary of the group being started by Pat Galpin, so a small celebration is being planned.

If you would like any information about the group, please contact Pat Galpin on 01460 220026 or Kate McElligott on 01460 394331; you can email and the group post regularly on Facebook (Chard Carers Support Group).

Written by Chard Carers Support Group