The Next Step is powered by Wesleyan, an organisation that is committed to giving back. The Wesleyan Foundation was set up in 2017 to support our customers and their communities, and since conception, has awarded over £5 million to deserving causes across the UK.
One such cause is the Making Space Charity. Our Community and Citizenship Manager, Jacob Ayre, visited the charity recently. Here he shares his experience and how a grant from Wesleyan Foundation is helping to support adult carers.
The Making Space Charity
Based in Cheshire, the Making Space Charity is a leading provider of adult health and social care services. Their aim is to support adults and their carers to lead independent and fulfilling lives.
A key focus for the charity is offering support to carers, including young carers. This service is delivered through one-to-one, face-to-face support, as well as group activities, walking and talking meets, and creative groups.
The charity also provides resources and information for carers, both online and through the post.
How the Wesleyan Foundation has supported Making Space
Making Space received a £10,000 grant from the Wesleyan Foundation. This grant was divided equally between their adult and young carers’ service for two different hardship funds.
I went to visit the adult carers’ service and attended one of their coffee mornings to find out more about the charity and to see how the funds were being used.
My experience visiting Making Space
I felt very privileged to join the coffee morning. Each carer had the opportunity to talk about issues they were experiencing and to receive support from both their peers and two professionals from Making Space.
One professional specialised in mental health, and the other specialised in learning disabilities and autism. This mix benefitted the group, as carers support people of all ages and with a variety of needs.
There were discussions about issues relating to care providers and social worker teams. People offered advice on the routes that could be taken to address such issues.
One participant, who currently cares for a family member, shared how their viewpoint has changed over time, and that now their focus is ensuring the person they care for is happy.
Seeing the peer support firsthand was very powerful, as individuals shared a range of emotional experiences.
The carers were then given information on active scamming schemes that were operating in their area. This included the Courier Scam and the Amazon Prime Day Scam, linked to a discount campaign that is running.
When the carers had finished sharing, I was introduced by one of the leads. I explained my role working for the Wesleyan Foundation, emphasising our commitment to provide funds to those in need and to engage with the community to gain insight into the issues they face.
I also explained that this approach allows us to ensure that our funding aligns with their needs, helping to effectively address any challenges that impact them.
The carers gave me feedback on the issues they were facing, and were very grateful for the support from the Wesleyan Foundation and Making Space. One of the carers told me: "Making Space has provided vital support for me. I can’t come to every event or coffee morning due to my caring commitments, but when I need to, I can come and get the support I need.
"They also send out opportunities and resources via email and newsletters. It’s an amazing feeling to know that there is someone out there for you when you need it."
The adult carers’ hardship fund
I was informed that so far, 30 people had accessed the adult carers’ hardship fund. The carers receive funds ten days after their application, and Making Space have made the application process as simple as possible.
The fund was designed to help with the cost-of-living crisis. Carers are able to apply for small grants to help them purchase the things they need. So far, the fund has been used to purchase Air Fryers, kitchen utensils and small white goods, as well as contributing towards larger white goods like washing machines and tumble dryers.
The carers shared how important the fund was in light of rising bills, and how having additional options for purchasing essentials meant they could maintain their quality of life:
"For some of us carers, when something such as a washing machine breaks, it can cause huge issues due to additional laundry needs. Being able to access this fund is a great stress reliever during a very difficult time."
A Making Space worker said: "It’s been so powerful to be able to offer people practical financial solutions. It’s not often we get funding for activities like this, and it’s making a real difference.
"When we are working with someone and you can see they are struggling because a household item is broken, we can relieve a lot of stress by getting them the funds they need to solve the issue."
From speaking with a number of carers, it was clear to see that Making Space is providing vital services for so many. We are planning a second visit that will focus on young carers and how they are benefitting from the education fund.