Families and friends who serve as carers for terminally-ill loved ones will now be offered extra support a hospice has announced.

St Clare Hospice, in Hastingwood, will provide sessions led by the Day Therapy team covering the skills, techniques and practicalities when caring for someone.

The six-week programme is scheduled to run four times a year, with a focus on weekly group discussions, and professional and peer support.

“There are many challenges to be faced when caring for a family member, friend or relative,” says Jane Iskander, occupational therapist and Day Therapy manager at St Clare Hospice. “Things like fatigue, stress and anxiety are common, as well as pressure on personal relationships and uncertainty around navigating the public care system.

“That’s why we’ve initiated this new Carers’ Group,” explains Jane “so that carers have access to professional, specialist advice, guidance and coping strategies to help them care for someone close to them.

“The aim of our Carers’ Group is to educate and support carers on both how to offer the best care to their relatives, but also the importance of looking after themselves.

“Peer support will play a large role in the groups; caring for someone can feel very isolating, so knowing that you’re not experiencing these difficulties alone can bring comfort and support.”

Alongside the course, volunteers will also discuss sensitive subjects for loved ones, such as wills, advanced care plans, power of attorney and finances.

The sessions will be open by referral to those receiving care from St Clare and opportunities for people to request a referral via a health, social care or hospice professional.

Mrs Iskander added: “We’re really excited to be able to launch this care service.

“We’ll be continuously looking to develop and improve this service over the next few months, and hopefully, by the end of 2019, we will be able to offer it to the wider community, too, so watch this space”

St Clare Hospice’s Carer’s Group will launch on Friday, June 28, for more information, visit stclarehospice.org.uk

To find out more about the new Carers’ Group, please call 01279 773700.