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Your Wellbeing Matters...

Blue Monday, the January Slump...this can be a hard month for some at the best of times, let alone in the middle of an international pandemic! We'd like you to consider this bulletin as a *virtual hug*, to remind you that you are part of an invisibly-connected team of over 21,000 Carers in Sutton - and that the Sutton Carers Centre team is here for you throughout these challenging times, and beyond. 

We know that the impact of these latest 'lockdown' restrictions will have caused additional concerns and challenges for so many Carers. We wanted to reach out and connect with you, also to reassure you that we haven't gone anywhere, even if you can't just pop into the physical Centre personally, for the time-being.

We do want to hear from you so that we can provide support - or perhaps you can spare a few minutes to call and check in, just to let us know how you are. We appreciate all that you are doing to support your families and friends whilst juggling other pressures. 

We have increased the size of our team, both paid staff and volunteers, with kind support from new funders and donors, as well as the Council, so that we can not only take more calls, but also make more outward-bound calls. We want to reach as many of the 8000 people on our database as possible. Even though we may not reach you all, we will do the very best that we can...

And again, please do not wait for a call from us if you would like to touch base or need some support. Please note that in certain circumstances, we also can still arrange to see you in person, if pre-arranged and you simply cannot connect with us confidentially by phone, email or video.  If needed, you also have the support of our Adult and Young Carers Champions, Cllr Marlene Heron and Cllr Chris Williams, both with personal experience of caring, themselves. 

It is understandable that your main priority may be the person you care for, but we want to remind you that that your own wellbeing is just as important. To that end, we have collated some key information below which we hope gives you some additional support, making it a bit easier to care safely and also keep yourself well.
Did you know...that unpaid Carers can still care away from home, if necessary? 
During the current restrictions, unpaid Carers can continue to provide care or necessary assistance to a friend or family member who is not within their household, someone who cannot manage or cope without support. A person also is allowed to travel to provide covering care or respite to another Carer, enabling them time out or a break from their caring duties.

When travelling to care for someone, or to provide respite care, the necessary precautions still need to be taken.

For further dedicated guidance for unpaid Adult and Young Carers on Coronavirus please visit the links below:
An update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine
The government has now published guidance to say that unpaid Carers - those who are in receipt of Carer's Allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill - will now be prioritised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of 'priority group 6', if they haven't already received the vaccine as part of priority groups 1 - 5 (priority 1, for example, starts with ensuring people in care homes and their care-workers get the new jabs first). The full information is here.

The government is clear that Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective and will give you the best protection against getting seriously ill. When it is your turn, you will receive an invitation to have the vaccination. For most people, this will be a letter, either from your GP or the national NHS. This letter will include all the information you will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. If you require any support when you are called for your vaccine, then please reach out to us at Sutton Carers Centre.

We don't yet know exactly how Carers in Sutton will be identified to be called in for their vaccine - but Carers UK suggests that you make sure you are on your GP Practice 'Carers Register' by e.g. emailing in - but please do not contact your Surgery re: timings as they will not have further information at this point in time.

If you would like to talk this through, in anticipation, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Sutton Carers Centre, as above. We are working with other local leaders to make this process clearer, asap, and will update you as soon as we know more. Please follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for the very latest updates. 

Sutton Parent Carer Forum is hosting an 'NHS Update' event via Zoom on Thursday, 21st January, 10:30am - 12 noon. THIS IS OPEN TO ALL CARERS.

To join via Zoom link: or 
Meeting ID: 892 9853 0835 Passcode: 019935

To 'dial in' from your ‘phone:
Call 020 3051 2874 - and if you do not want your phone number to be visible on-screen, please dial 141 before the number.

Guest speaker Nadine Wyatt
, Senior Engagement Manager (Sutton) from NHS South West London CCG , alongside a local GP, will be giving an update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine programme and is there to answer any questions about this or any other health-related issues. All Carers are welcome to attend.

If you would like more information, please email Jane Knowles at or call on 07557 760328.

We hope that there will be a 'Q&A' document produced from this, and other similar events running in Sutton over the next few weeks. Please contact us if you can't make the event but would like to know more - or please check back on our website where we will publish further information as we have it. 

Have you had your Flu Vaccine yet?
If you haven't yet had your flu vaccine and are a main Carer, or receive Carer's Allowance for an older person, or someone with a disability or an illness, then you are able to get a flu vaccination for free. You can get the vaccine from your local pharmacist or GP in Sutton.

You are particularly welcome to pop in to get your flu vaccine at Anna Pharmacy, 398 Green Wrythe Lane, Carshalton, Surrey, SM5 1JF.

It is important to note that you must allow potentially up to 14 days between having a flu vaccination and a Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination (your GP or Nurse can confirm) - therefore it is recommended to get your flu vaccination asap, if you haven't already, to allow several days' gap in-between, as needed.

Please click
 here to see further information for Carers about the flu vaccine.

Contingency Planning
The government has advised Carers to create a contingency plan (emergency plan) in the case of them being unable to care for someone reliant upon them. This can be put into place when help from another person would be required to deliver care due to a change in your circumstances, such as e.g. illness, yourself. At Sutton Carers Centre, we can advise you how to create your plan, so please do hesitate to contact us. You can see further information and guidance about contingency plans on the Carers UK website here.
Do you need access to PPE?
As well as 'Hands, Space and Face', Personal Protective Equipment may be vital to help keep yourself, and the person you care for, safe and protected against COVID-19. If you have concerns about accessing PPE (such as masks, aprons or gloves, for example), then please get in contact with us at Sutton Carers Centre so we can help.
Increased Data Allowance
This scheme temporarily increases data allowances for mobile phone users on certain networks, so that children and young people can access remote education if their face-to-face education is disrupted. Schools, trusts and local authorities can request mobile data increases for children and young people who meet all 3 of these criteria:
  • Do not have fixed broadband at home.
  • Cannot afford additional data for their devices.
  • Are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education.
Further information can be found here.

Financial Health
As above, we recognise that your financial health is a very important aspect of your wellbeing. At Sutton Carers Centre, we offer free and comprehensive benefits checks by a welfare benefits specialist from our partners at Citizens Advice Sutton. Our staff and volunteers can also help you complete a wide range of benefits and concessionary forms over the phone. Please do not hesitate to contact us to get further support from our team.

Looking after your Mental Health
Wellbeing is not just about your physical, social and financial health - it also is about your mental and emotional health. Taking care of your mental health is so important, and to support you, Sutton Carers Centre provides free counselling, wellbeing sessions, community services navigation, support groups, meditation and relaxation, as well as complementary therapies. We have specialist workers to support the emotional health of both Adult and Young Carers. Please contact us to find out more.

For additional support, guidance and tips to maintain your mental health, please see this small selection of services that we think are helpful, below:
  • For practical tips and ideas to help look after your mental health then you can visit the Every Mind Matters website here.
  • Sutton Mental Health Foundation recently launched a Sutton Wellbeing Line, running Monday to Friday, 10am - 2pm, on 0800 012 9105.
  • South West London & St George's Mental Health NHS Trust runs a 24/7 Mental Health Support Line on 0800 028 8000 where you can get support and advice in a crisis - for yourself, or the person you care for.
  • If, sadly, you have been bereaved, then please know that you can get support to help you through this time. Sutton Carers Centre can continue to support you in the immediate months following a loss, and also hosts an ongoing 'Moving-on' Support Group run by former Carers. 
  • Cruse Bereavement Care is a charity dedicated to helping people who are experiencing grief. You can contact them through their main helpline on 0808 808 1677or call the dedicated helpline for Sutton on 07904 056 123.
  • The NHS has a guide you can view here to help support your wellbeing after experiencing a bereavement.
  • The Carers UK Online Forum is a great place to connect, get support and share experiences with other Carers, helping you to feel that you are not alone. Please click here to join. If you need additional support, then you can call the Carers UK Helpline on 0808 808 7777.
Taking Breaks
To enable you to care safely and well, sometimes it is best for your wellbeing to take a break to focus on yourself. Within the Government guidelines under 'Where and when you can meet in large groups', it states that another person can provide respite to a Carer, enabling them time out from their caring duties. So if you need support to be able to take a break, then this can be arranged.

At Sutton Carers Centre we have a range of online support groups that provide Carers with the opportunity to take a break from caring and connect with others in a similar situation. Details of all of our groups are available in our latest E-Newsletter here.
Looking After Yourself
In addition to taking a break, even with the national restrictions in place, there are many ways to look after yourself at home. If you are able to do so, then please take some time out of your day and try one, or a few of our suggested tips:
  • Go for a walk in your local area; even just 15 minutes can be highly beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing.
  • You can exercise in your own home with online classes and routines. The One You website has some short home workout videos you can view here. Any form of exercise is great for your overall wellbeing.
  • Listen to your favourite music, it can help improve your mood, sleep and memory.
  • Pop the kettle on, make yourself a tea (or coffee) and take a moment to clear your mind.
  • If you can take a moment out of your day, then settle down and watch your favourite TV show or film. If you pick a comedy, then remember laughter is a great way of releasing physical tension and stress.
If you are a Young Carer or Adult Carer, then please see the suggestions from GOV.UK on how you can look after your own health and wellbeing here. There are tips on how to keep healthy, staying connected and guidance to help you create a wellness plan.
If you are having any difficulties accessing food, medication or other essentials at present, then please contact us on 020 8296 5611, 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday, until 8pm on Tuesday evenings, and from 11am – 1pm on the second Saturday of each month, or email us on

You also can get extensive information from the London Borough of Sutton website here,
 including information about COVID-19 tests, with or without symptoms. It also has information if you feel unsafe from domestic abuse or if you have concerns about the safety of a vulnerable adult or child. 

Your NHS is still here for you, too - so, as always, if you have any concerns about your health, please contact your GP, or in any emergency, please call 999.  
Best wishes,
Chiara Borwick
Communications & Digital Involvement Coordinator | Sutton Carers Centre (Carers Trust Network Partner)
Core working hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 5:30pm

Tel: 020 8296 5611 | Fax: 020 8296 5616 | ALPS: 020 8254 2616
Address: Benhill House, 1st Floor | 12-14 Benhill Avenue | Sutton | Surrey | SM1 4DA
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Sutton Carers' Centre is a Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status. Registered in England, Company Number 3353573 and Charity Number 1062302.

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Sutton Carers Centre · First Floor Benhill House · 12 - 14 Benhill Avenue · Sutton, Surrey SM1 4DA · United Kingdom