We organised the Carers Walk in the Park in Verulamium Park, St Albans, to bring Heléna Herklots, the Chief Executive of national charity Carers UK, to the county as part of her 50 hills challenge to mark the 50th anniversary of Carers UK. This was walk 26!
During the two-mile walk carers could talk to each other and discuss any issues associated to their caring role with Heléna, Hertfordshire County Council’s Director of Adult and Community Services Iain MacBeath, and our staff. The discussion topics included dementia care and lack of services for autistic teenagers and their carers.
The Mayor of St Albans City and District, Councillor Salih Gaguysuz, set walkers on their way and joined in. He said:
“It was fantastic that so many carers came on the walk as I realise they can find it difficult to get time to themselves. Since becoming Mayor I’ve discovered so many people and charities in the community that I didn't know about, including Carers in Hertfordshire. On behalf of the City and District, I offer my very best wishes to all the carers in our community.”
Carer Alison, who has two autistic children, said:
“The walk was good. It was nice to speak to other carers and hear their stories. Carers in Hertfordshire have been brilliant for me and made a hard time easier.”
Another carer Annie said:
“The walk was a lovely idea to bring people together who wouldn’t normally get together to talk. By Heléna and Michèle walking it demonstrated the great partnership between carers’ charities.”Heléna Herklots, said:
“It was a fantastic afternoon and I got the chance to talk to several carers about their roles and experiences. Caring for a loved one without the right support can be an uphill struggle, which I why I have chosen to climb 50 hills in this, our anniversary year. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t have got this far – climbing 26 hills – without the support of dedicated carers, friends, colleagues and local carers’ organisations, like Carers in Hertfordshire, along the way.”
On returning from the walk, on August 11th, everyone received a medal, certificate and a goody bag, and were welcomed with drinks and snacks at the leisure centre.
Michèle Stokes, our Chief Executive, said:
“It was great to hear carers’ stories and to have an opportunity to meet people who wouldn't usually attend meetings or forums.”
Michèle thanked Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre for hosting the event, St Albans Cathedral for their short talk, our Carers Camera Club participants for taking photographs at the event and Matt Green from Hertfordshire Health Walks for help with the planning and leading the walk.