We recently started to offer training and ongoing support to organisations wishing to help their members / clients / patients make plans for later and end of life.
We have already trained staff or volunteers of over 20 organisations throughout the UK, all using the My Future Care Handbook as a source of information and structure for the conversation. Thanks to grant funding we’ve been able to supply training and ongoing support free to many of them, including free Handbooks for the people they go on to help.
One of the first organisations to sign up was Broadstairs Town Shed (Shed of the Year 2022 no less!) which offers older people, of all genders, a space to work together on woodworking projects, where they can learn, share skills and socialise together.
We asked them to explain how they’d be using the My Future Care Handbook with their members.
Who does your organisation support and what kind of support do you provide?
By creating a safe, welcoming space which is focused on woodwork, carpentry and craft, our members are able to get out of the project what they need. For some the project is a place to drop in for a cuppa and chat. For others it is a lifeline, helping them reintegrate into the community after a significant life event such as bereavement, stroke, PTSD or a mental illness. We offer a no time-limited programme of help and support – we are here for our members when they want to come.
One of the key benefits of the Shed project is that people feel that their skills are being used and appreciated. It helps our Shedders retain the role of productive and valued community members, combating loneliness and that sense of invisibility.
How will My Future Care Buddy training enable you to better meet the needs of the people you support?
As the Shed has grown so has the support we offer our members. By working with local community groups and health providers we have created our Nourish & Flourish wellbeing programme. The Shed is a ‘family’ with a wealth of lived experience, where everyone is there to support each other, especially through difficult times. We’re mindful that many of our Shedders are Carers, looking after loved ones, as well as a membership demographic who need to be considering their future care needs.
Through group sessions, professional presentations and one to one drop ins we’ll be working through the My Future Care Handbook. From the initial presentation, introducing the Handbook, the response to be involved has been overwhelming with over 70 signed up and more asking to join the programme. This is early days for us, as we’ve only just embarked on the journey, but we’re excited to see where it leads. As we work through this first phase, we’re looking ahead at the possibility of becoming a community hub for others to access this service.
Would you recommend the training to other organisations? And why?
Sadly, you only fully appreciate the significance of the My Future Care Handbook when you speak to those who weren’t fully prepared for the complexities, and the emotional impact, of decision making awaiting them, but too late to ask.
Through tackling this with a group dynamic our Shedders are free to move at their own pace but know that their friends are going through the same process. They’re there for each other, with the buddy system support, to have these much-needed conversations and share their thoughts. As a group it takes away any taboos and facilitates an environment of support: no one’s alone.