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Rydal Hall.jpg
UK News

Caring for the Carers - Church in Cumbria partners with Christian charity to help NHS

by Donna Birrell

The Diocese of Carlisle is partnering with a Christian charity to provide free retreats for people who were frontline carers during the Covid pandemic.

Caring for the Carers would see free retreats offered for 45 NHS staff members and others at Rydal Hall, Diocese’s Christian Conference and Retreat Centre, near Ambleside. 

It’s the idea of the Rev Prof Stephen Wright, spiritual director of the Sacred Space Foundation, a non-profit, non-denominational retreat centre and charitable trust located in the Lake District National Park :

“We’ve all clapped for our carers and now it’s time we proactively cared for them too. That is what this project is all about.

“We’re well aware of the burnout and exhaustion that so many are facing and so we just want to do our best to help their recovery in some small way. It will be an opportunity for individuals to recharge their batteries in whatever way they want to: to read, to walk, to enjoy Rydal’s grounds, to talk one-to-one or in groups. It would be completely up to them.”

A fundraising drive is now underway with just over £7,000 having already been pledged. Organisers are looking to raise a total of £20,000 which would cover the cost of hiring rooms for the retreats in September and December. It’s hoped more retreat places will be offered in 2022.

Rev Stephen is contacting NHS Trusts across the county, in order that they can promote the project to staff. Places will be offered up on a first come, first served basis.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for health and medical ethics, says he welcomes the plans : 

“We are well aware of the huge sacrifices made by all of our frontline health workers during the pandemic. Day after day they have gone above and beyond and for that they have our huge thanks.

“So it is only right that we look to support them in whatever way we can, with so many having been left exhausted by their efforts over this year and a half. I shall also be writing to all of our churches across the Diocese to bring this project to their attention in case they feel moved to offer financial help.

“My prayer is that we see a groundswell of support for this initiative and that, as a result, there are carers who are able to enjoy some much needed time for relaxation and recuperation.”

For more information visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bishop-of-carlisle-and-ssf-caring-for-carers-fund

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