Nearly 70 carers and their families and friends enjoyed an afternoon of indulgence at a special Carers’ Pamper Afternoon at The Hospice of St Francis last week.
Marking the end of national Carers Week (8-12th June), the free Pamper afternoon was a chance for carers across Herts and Bucks, caring for someone under the care of the Hospice or in the community, to savour some much-needed ‘me-time’ courtesy of the Berkhamsted-based charity.
They enjoyed special treats from relaxation and relaxing massage sessions, mini-manicures or a haircut to tea and cakes on the lawns and a browse round the craft, gift and plant stalls.
There were also group sessions on hair tips and techniques, Bach flower remedies and ways to relax, with live entertainment provided by The Jolly Jazzers.
Berkhamsted carer Mavis, who attended the event with her husband Eric, who she cares for, said, “Its hard work being a carer - you don’t get much time for yourself, but it’s lovely to just sit here in the beautiful gardens and drink a nice cup of tea!
“We’ve lived in Berkhamsted most of our lives and know other local people in the same situation as us but it’s amazing that there are so many people here and we don’t recognise anyone!”
The Hospice provides care for people living with life-limiting illnesses across Herts and Bucks, as well as support for their families from across the area.
It offers workshops, courses and social groups, as well as respite support for carers through a Carer Support Volunteer service, relieving carers for a few hours to allow them time to go shopping, enjoy a hobby or meet friends and family.
“Carers work so hard and deserve some pampering,” says Claire Hewitt, Carer Support Coordinator at the Hospice.
“Carers are often people who are under enormous strain and can sometimes feel undervalued but the aim of our Pamper Afternoon is to offer this very special group of people an afternoon of relaxation and treats, away from the stresses and strains of their daily routines.
“It was lovely to see so many people here relaxing and enjoying some rejuvenating me-time. Some of them were visiting the Hospice for the first time. This is the sixth year we’ve held the event and the feedback has been fantastic.”
Former Berkhamsted Mayor, Freda Earl, attended the event as a volunteer, serving tea and cakes to guests throughout the afternoon. Until her husband, Victor, also a former Berkhamsted Mayor, died in 2014, Freda had been his carer.
She said: “When you come to the Hospice as a carer, you get the very warm feeling that people here actually care.
“When Victor was alive, the Pamper Day gave me the chance to access a huge amount of advice and support and whenever I was here, I felt like everyone listened to me, and listened to everyone else as well.
“All of the services I received here, including the Pamper Day and the End of Life Course, taught me how to cope, and I learned a lot of new skills. I got a real benefit from it.
“The pampering, especially aromatherapy, gave me time to focus on nothing but me, which is very rare when you’re the sole carer to a loved one. Victor loved it when we were here because he knew I was being helped, which was a huge benefit to us both.”
Claire Hewitt said, “We’d like to say a big thank you to all the Hospice staff, volunteers, individuals, stall holders, companies and groups including The Jolly Jazzers, The Spring Centre Complementary Therapy Team, Champneys Tring, Synergy Beauty Salon, Elementary Skin Care, Totality Day Spa Tring, Sharon Herholdt, hairdressers Keith Abbott and Lori Lee, Purenails and Alice Barnes, Colour consultant , who gave their time and expertise to make the day such a success.”
If you’re a carer, check out the Hospice’s Spring Centre programme at http://www.stfrancis.org.uk to see if there are any forthcoming carers’ workshops you’d like to access.
The Hospice is also running various courses for carers at its Spring Centre during the summer, including a First Aid course on Wednesday 8th July from 10am – 12.30pm and a Care Towards the End of Life course starting on Tuesday 8th Sept from 2-4pm for five weeks.
For more information, please contact the Spring Centre Admin Team on 01442 869550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org