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“National Garden Scheme grant meant I could be me for the first time in five or six years”

For more than 25 years, Carers Trust’s partnership with the National Garden Scheme has made a huge difference to the lives of unpaid carers around the country with support, advice, respite and grants.

The grants made possible through National Garden Scheme funding can go towards everything from vital household equipment to short breaks away.

Carers who have benefited include Susan from North Tyneside. For years, Susan was a carer for her wife, Cath, who had multiple health conditions. When Cath sadly passed away in July this year, Susan was able to use a National Garden Scheme grant to fund a trip to Scarborough and visit some friends the week after the funeral.

Susan said she wouldn’t have been able to afford the break, or had the impetus to do it, without that grant.

She said: “It was fantastic. I stayed half-board so even having somebody else to prepare food for me made a big difference because towards the end I was doing everything and I was caring for Cath 24/7. They say a change is as good as a rest and it really, really was. It was amazing to be able to just get away from it all, put everything down to go away and be me for the first time in five or six years.”

The National Garden Scheme is Carers Trust’s longest-standing corporate donor in a partnership stretching all the way back to 1996. During that time the organisation has given more than £5.5m to help improve the lives of unpaid carers across the length and breadth of the UK.

Last year alone the National Garden Scheme supported 91 different grant applications for carers. This included 49 grants for respite breaks and outdoor activities. Carers often tell us respite is one of the things they benefit from the most, providing a rare break from the caring responsibilities which often dominate their lives. For that reason, those breaks can be vital for their wellbeing and help them avoid burnout.

For carers, the breakdown of a household item like a washing machine or cooker can also create huge upheaval. And with the increasing cost of living and the fact that many carers are forced to give up paid work due to the demands of their caring role, getting a replacement isn’t always affordable. That’s why grants for go everyday items like these are so important, and the National Garden Scheme donations make these possible too.

Funding from the National Garden Scheme has also helped carers buy equipment that enable them to enjoy their own outdoor spaces, from garden furniture and play equipment to services like clearing and re-paving.

Of course, carer groups also reap huge benefit from visits to sites that are part of the National Garden Scheme. This gives groups of carers a chance to socialise and swap stories, all while enjoying some much-needed relaxation time in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the country.

Over 3,500 gardens are opening for the National Garden Scheme in 2023. There’s a huge selection from extensive country gardens and small plots to allotments and community gardens.

You can find out more about visiting one of these stunning gardens on the National Garden Scheme website.







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