(funded by Comic Relief)
Few of us will not at some point in our life take on the role of carer for a family member. For the majority of us it is usually an elderly parent or a spouse.
There is, however, a group of people whose caring role often goes unnoticed. Who fall under our radar as not only are they silently getting on with their caring role, and have done so for all of their life, but unless we know someone in a similar situation – we often are not aware that they even exist.
These are the Family Carers whose child is born with a learning disability and who, as a result, spend their life battling, fighting, negotiating and supporting their son or daughter to lead as normal life as possible.
Through the OxFSN Embolden Project, funded by Comic Relief, we work with older family carers to give this seldom heard group of people a collective voice in order to influence and hold decision makers to account.
Equally important is the need to highlight those individual family carers, some of whom are in their 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s, who are still supporting their family member, some who are still living at home and some who are living out of county.
This small exhibition aims to give each family carer or carers their own unique voice but also to show that whatever the circumstances of their family member, the family carer cannot step back and ‘retire’. Each story gives an insight in to the range of support and involvement they have given and continue to do so.
We would like to thank each of these family carers for allowing us to share their own individual and personal stories. They reflect the range of emotions that comes with raising a child with a learning disability – the hopes, the fears, the uncertainty and best of all the joy and laughter that each and everyone brings.
To us they are the unsung heroes who have fought to ensure that their ‘child’ is given the same recognition that we want for any of our children but have unselfishly dedicated all their life to doing so.
With special thanks to Sara Ryan for providing the photographs of our family carers.
The photographs and carers’ Life Long Caring stories are currently on display at Oxfordshire County Council County Hall during the month of June 2019.
For further information contact Kathy Liddell, em·bold·en Project Administrator.