Dick Lovelace – Caring for Carers Dacorum
At the start of the publicity given to this unknown virus our AGM Meeting for ‘Caring for Carers’ in Dacorum was held on the 5th March. At no time had we thought of cancelling our meeting and we looked forward to a late buffet to follow the charities Agenda. It would be honest to say therefore we had made no planning whatsoever for what has struck us down over the last several weeks. As founder member of 28 years and currently Joint Chair, I immediately took on the task of finding ways of helping our Group of Carers of Loved ones with Mental Health problems. The following few months have not been difficult but more like dealing with people who are frustrated, sad, lonely, bewildered, heartbroken, anxious, scared and suicidal.
During this time, I have made hundreds of telephone calls and emails trying to help people find solutions to problems such as feeding themselves as well as their loved ones, trying to explain to those who do not understand what ‘Isolating’ means and how long is 2 metres.
It has taken several weeks for things to improve and during that time we have had several situations including several deaths.
After my retirement in 2010, aged 65, I felt the need to find something which would benefit others and give me the satisfaction of feeling needed and something I could enjoy doing. With a lot of good fortune, I found my way into an area I understand “Mental Health’. Over the last 10 years I have been a Governor and have taken part in many activities representing the group and many Hertfordshire carers.
Our work on suicide has continued throughout the virus via Zoom and we have been able to make some useful progress. Our next meeting is at the end of May, but in the meantime we have been able to gain and distribute a lot of advice and encouragement.
I have managed to keep cheerful so far although we have lots of queuing in Tring. Everywhere you go including Tesco’s and Marks and Spencer’s. Nobody is buying anything, but you know us British we just love queuing. Any spare time has been used to ring old friends who I know live alone.
I have reached out to Edinburgh, Falkirk, Stoke on Trent, Wakefield, Helston, Cardiff, Swanage and many other places. All seem happy to hear my voice despite the change of circumstances which happened over the 10 years since I last spoke to them.
Hazel is in a lot of pain waiting of a hit operation, Brian seeks help from Strongbow Cider and I have finished painting the garden fence which I started in 2017.
In 2018, our Group were winners of the Skipton Building Society Grass Roots Giving Award for the services to the Community against nearly 900 participants.