Our Trustee, Mike Ribton, reflects on his first year at CSM

One year has passed since I became a trustee at CSM and yet I still feel a novice. In part that is because there is so much knowledge to acquire, so many differing experiences and circumstances to understand, about being a carer. Meeting on a screen has not lessened the welcome and warmth from the core team. However, the first and probably most important lesson I have learnt over the year is that as a carer you are not on your own. CSM provides an amazing support network that instils resilience, strength, practical advice and optimism for the future. It’s great to be part of it. 

Often, long-term plans are challenging when you are caring for someone else, but I have been struck by how many carers ensure that they maximise their own time pursuing hobbies like yoga, keeping fit, undertaking crafts, reading or meeting others. I guess it is summed up as self-care or ‘caring for the carer’; in sum, being conscious of one’s own mental wellbeing and not being limited by the role of caring. I have learnt that CSM can help enormously with this too.

Becoming a carer can be a sudden, even unexpected, thing, literally a total change to your life in a split second. It can happen to anyone.

I have been so impressed by the carers I have met who have been confident; fully understanding what is expected of them in their new role.

But carers need help. There may be a raft of difficult decisions to be made, the person they care for may have dramatically changed following a health scare or accident, they may require guidance and support on accessing financial help or services. Carers know that they can rely on CSM, and each other, to help chart a way through such choppy waters. That’s why I am really proud of the work CSM undertakes and its incredible staff and volunteers who want to help carers to live the best life they can.