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Bursary offers new opportunities to former carers – and new hope to others

A stroke club and a choir for the elderly are being set up in Surrey with the help of a new bursary established in memory of John Bale, former Chair of Action for Carers (Surrey), who died last year.

A stroke club and a choir for the elderly are being set up in Surrey with the help of a new bursary established in memory of John Bale, former Chair of Action for Carers (Surrey), who died last year.

Three former carers were awarded the first John Bale Memorial Bursary at the Annual Carers’ Conference of Action for Carers (Surrey) at Leatherhead Leisure Centre last week (Thursday 24 May). The bursary was established by friends, family, Action for Carers (Surrey) and The Surrey LINk in memory of John Bale, who was a former carer and champion of carers’ rights

Jacqui Hiscocks, Pam Brush and Michael King, each received £250 to help them follow new learning, training, volunteering or work opportunities following a period of caring and were selected to receive the bursary by a joint panel of carers and representatives of both charities.

Former special needs teacher Mrs Hiscocks, from Newdigate, will be using her bursary to start up The Mole Valley Stroke Club in Dorking. The group, run by Jacqui and two volunteers, will provide support and activities for stroke victims and time out for their carers and Jacqui has already arranged a series of meeting aimed at spreading the word.

Jacqui, whose late husband George attended a stroke club in Horsham, said: “The stroke group that George went to provided all sorts of activities and talks and was a place that he could go to meet others where I knew he would be happy and safe. It also gave me a short break which made all the difference. There is currently nothing like it in Dorking and I hope to fill the gap.”        

Music lover Pam Brush, from Addlestone, plans to share her love of singing by setting up a choir for the elderly residents of Alan Hilton Court in Ottershaw. Pam, who spent 10 years caring for her late husband Michael, who had Parkinson’s Disease, is using her bursary to buy song books and piano music for the wartime and show songs she knows the residents will enjoy.

Pam, who will run the group with the help of violinist and piano teacher friend, will also complete a course in choral conducting to help her fine tune her skills.

She said: “Being a carer for a long time means that you have little time to follow your own interests.  Music is something I enjoy and it has been shown to be of great benefit to older people as it brings them together.”

Michael King, from Egham, will use his bursary to buy and learn to use a computer. Michael, who cared for and supported his late wife Linda, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, now does regular voluntary work with the elderly and the disabled and plans to use his new skills to extend his volunteering opportunities.

“Caring work is deep in my heart and learning to use a computer would give me another thing that I can do,” he said.

Jane Thornton, Chief Executive of Action for Carers (Surrey) said: “John Bale felt passionately that carers should not be forgotten when their caring role ends. The bursary set up in his name aims to help former carers take the next step towards rediscovering talents and achieving their own goals. All three of our first recipients are more than worthy of this award.”    

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Notes to editors

The John Bale Memorial Bursary is an annual award for former adult carers, generally but not exclusively, those who have ceased caring in the last year, to help them take the next step towards learning, training, volunteering or work. Nominations are accepted from, or on behalf of, those who have had their aspirations around work or training curtailed because of their caring role and now wish to achieve their own goals. Action for Carers and Employment can support them to identify skills and give ideas on how to move forward. It is hoped the bursary will fund training or equipment that they need. Individual bursaries are made for any amount up to a maximum of £250. The 2012 First John Bale Memorial Bursary of £1,000 in total was made possible by the donations of family, friends and colleagues of John Bale, The Surrey LINk and Action for Carers (Surrey). The remaining £250 from 2012 will be carried forward to 2013 and an additional £750 will be funded by Action for Carers (Surrey).

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Bursary offers

Pictured: Jacqui Hiscocks receiving her bursary certificate from John Bale’s son and daughter, James Bale and Clair Hayman, at the Action for Carers (Surrey) Annual Carer’s Conference at Leatherhead Leisure Centre,  on Thursday 24 May.

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Pictured: Pamela Brush receiving her bursary certificate from John Bale’s son and daughter, James Bale and Clair Hayman, at the Action for Carers (Surrey) Annual Carer’s Conference at Leatherhead Leisure Centre, on Thursday 24 May.

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