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In honour of Volunteers’ Week 2024 we spoke to our fantastic volunteer Trish about life as an unpaid carer for her adult daughter, and a Here to Talk volunteer for Carer Support Wiltshire. In her own words she told us her story.

‘My volunteering role with Carer Support Wiltshire is as part of the Here to Talk team. I was previously caring for my daughter Katie until she reached the age of 30 when she moved into residential care.

I am 70 years old and mother to Katie and two younger sons, and now have four grandchildren- lots of fun for all of us! As a family we lived in Wiltshire for many years and my children were all born here. In 1988 we moved to start a business in South Devon where we stayed for twenty years before returning to Wiltshire.

I work part-time as a music teacher which I have done from home for many years. I have been volunteering with the Wansdyke Carriage Driving Group (RDA) since 2007 and with the Alzheimer’s Support Music for the Mind group in Lockeridge during the last 3-4 years. I am a keen gardener and have other gardens in addition to my own that I tend every week, and I will walk most days.  I play the ‘cello in a string quartet and have a group of other musician friends who I meet and play with regularly!

Katie’s residential home, Furlong Close was threatened with closure about three years ago when the former operator pulled out. After this was announced a group of families, including myself, fought a two year campaign to save the specialist living complex and were eventually successful! You can read more about Furlong Close and our victory here – Wiltshire specialist living complex saved by families.

During lockdown, through the RVS, I phoned a number of people in isolation who, although not carers, were lonely and distressed.  This made me aware what a shocking number of people there are in this situation and how important it is that the rest of us are aware and try to provide some human contact, albeit via the telephone. The feedback I have received from those I have spoken to has led me to believe that these calls are much appreciated.

As a parent of a disabled daughter, now aged 44, I have had many opportunities to meet unpaid carers over the years. It has been rare to meet one who in any way resented the situation they were in, but there have been many who have voiced the wish for an occasional break and a little time to themselves. I understand that, particularly for an older carer, they could feel that their own lives are on hold, they forsake their independence, and have little or no opportunity to engage with people outside the home.

From my interaction with carers through CSW I can clearly appreciate what a positive difference they make with the services they offer, and how valuable they are. Without them there would undoubtedly be a much greater number of isolated carers who, without close family and friends, would feel trapped in their own home with no distraction from their responsibilities.  Their work is undoubtedly much appreciated by many.

I would certainly recommend that everyone becomes involved in volunteering in some capacity, and this can be encouraged by talking to others about the general need which they may not be aware of, and what a difference it can make.’

CSW will be going along to the Furlong Close Fete on June 22! Get more information about the free summer event here – Furlong Close Fete!

If you would like to get involved with our Here to Talk program drop us an email at, or leave us a message on 0800 181 4118.