‘It feels like I’m winning’: Carers Trust Cambridgeshire share story of Isleham carer Emma ahead of Carers Rights Day

Leigh, Teddy and Emma Joy-Staines.

Leigh, Teddy and Emma Joy-Staines. - Credit: Archant

Carers Trust Cambridgeshire is using the story of a mother of two from Isleham to raise awareness of the plight that many of the thousands of the county’s carers go through ahead of Carers Rights Day.

The stresses of caring for her husband caused Emma Joy-Staines, 31, to fall ill, and she was later admitted to hospital for tests.

She returned from hospital but struggled to provide care, so she called social services.

“I wasn’t used to asking for help, not even from my family, but I knew I had to do something,” she said.

“I was in an absolute state so I range social services and said, ‘I don’t know what you can do, I don’t know what I need but I need something. Can you help me?’

“They put me in touch in touch with Carers Trust Cambridgeshire. They have been my lifeline – the only organisation to proactively help us. I don’t know what would have happened because I was in a bad way. I was very scared.”

Emma was put in touch with support officer Becca Browne, who looked at the way she was coping as a carer and the impact it was having on her health and well-being.

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She was given a personal budget which she spends on cleaners at home, meaning she can have more time with her husband and children. She was also given access to counselling and an occupational therapist, who assessed their home and installed specialist disability equipment.

“It’s exhausting being a carer, but I feel I have the support I need now, it feels like I am winning,” Emma said.

“Before Carers Trust Cambridgeshire came on board, I felt I was losing, but they have given me the strength to keep fighting.”

Emma’s story is being highlighted in the Trust’s mission to provide unpaid carers and their families with information they need, such as their rights to carers and attendance allowance, ahead of Carers Rights Day on November 25.

There are over 60,000 unpaid carers in Cambridgeshire and Carers Hub manager, Hedda Lilley, says it is vital that they are clued in on what help they should be receiving.

She said: “There are thousands of family carers in Cambridgeshire, people who every day provide support and care to a loved one, who do not realise that they are entitled to certain rights and benefits. It is crucial that they can access help and any support and funds at a time when it is most needed to reduce worry and stress.”