Carers are people who provide help to those who need some support due to disability, illness or old age, whether it is for a few hours a week or 24 hours a day. However, all carers, whatever their particular situation, will have much in common and many find it a release to be able to share some of their feelings and emotions with others who understand. As fellow Christians we can support each other in prayer and share the reality of our Christian experience in the middle of the stress of caring. We support our members through a quarterly newsletter, and through meeting locally where possibly.
The Fellowship was started by Chris Baalham and his wife, Brenda, who suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis. Chris had decided to give up work and look after his wife and as a full time carer he realised how difficult and isolated a path he often trod. He and Brenda shared a joy and trust in God and they received much practical help from statutory bodies, friends, relatives and his church. However, when it came to the crunch, they felt alone in the world because they lacked contact with other Christian carers with whom they could share their needs and experiences on a spiritual level.
Out of this arose a vision to seek fellowship with other Christian carers - to offer comfort and hope. They knew that caring involved spiritual issues as well as practical and emotional ones, and for a Christian it was difficult to find help at a spiritual level. They had found the answers to their own problems with God's help and the support of each other - but they wanted to save others some of the pain and isolation.
Unbeknown to them, Julia Burton-Jones (working first with the Jubilee Centre and then Scripture Union) was making the same discoveries in a research project on carers. Contact with each other was eventually established and they felt that the next step forward was to help carers help each other. The Carers Christian Fellowship was thus born in December 1992.
During an initial two year trial period they found that a great need for supporting Christian carers existed. The steady stream of letters and telephone calls - many with heartbreaking stories - revealed this. So in 1995 the Fellowship was launched on a permanent basis and charitable status was gained in 1997. Since then we have seen a slow, but steady growth in membership and the Fellowship continues to be run entirely by volunteers who have had experience of caring and who wish to give Christian support to other carers.
CCF is managed by a small committee of carers and those involved with caring. Although coming from different backgrounds each of us has in common a strong Christian faith and we look to the Lord for daily help and support.
Chair / Membership
Having been a carer for her son, Andrew, who suffered from cystic fibrosis for 30 years and then her mother, disabled with arthritis and a heart condition, Pamela is keen to champion the cause of carers whenever the opportunity comes her way.
Jan Smith is the Treasurer for the Carers Christian Fellowship. Jan cares for her husband who suffers with Spastic Paraplegia (F.S.P.) which has progressed slowly over the last 40 years.
Hilary is the Newsletter editor, prayer co-ordinator for the Carers Christian Fellowship. Hilary is currently carer for her husband - a retired minister who had a pituitary tumour 40 years ago. He has also recently developed mild epilepsy following a stroke. She also has caring responsibilities to her older brother who has severe cerebral palsy and lives in care nearby.
Nancy Hall is responsible for Facebook page. She was born in Belgium and trained to be a care assistant specialising in the care of elderly with dementia. She has lived in England for 15 years, is married and has a son with micro duplication 22q11 which manifests itself in many different ways, with the autistic tendency the most profound.
Web page contact
Husband of Pamela the Chair also helped to look after son Andrew. Ordained Associate Priest to two parishes. Lead Coordinating Chaplain for Leicestershire and Rutland Fire and Rescue Service.
Mrs Janet Wilkes
Janet Wilkes cared for her late husband and now enjoys gardening and reading the daily papers in retirement, and last year took up the challenge of being CCF Secretary.