National Carers Week. Tuesday 9th June, 10am-12.30pm at Bridport Arts Centre

"Walking into the Living Tree, well, it's the best thing we ever did," says Brenda Knight.

Brenda and her husband Alan live in Whitchurch Canonicorum and they've both been treated for cancer. "As a wife or a husband you get on and deal with it, you don't think of it as a being a carer. But in fact you are." That realisation is sometimes difficult, knowing that you're in charge of everything as Brenda explains. "At the Living Tree Alan would be happily chatting away with members of the group and I'd be meeting up with the friends I'd made there. It was like being off duty for an afternoon and I came to see I really needed that break." Brenda also valued the practical advice she received at the meetings. "There was always someone who could suggest where to look for help, even if it was for gardening. You need to feel that you're still on top of life's everyday things and the Living Tree helped me achieve that."

Bridport's Living Tree Cancer Support Group is hosting a pop-up café to raise awareness and recognise the role of relatives, friends and carers in dealing with cancer. Anyone who would like advice, or just a chat with others in a similar situation, is welcome to come to this relaxed and informal event. Share a Care Café is timed to coincide with the nationwide Carers Week, an annual campaign that highlights the challenges carers face and the contribution they make to families and communities.

Founder Living Tree member Jo O'Farrell explains. "When cancer calls it really is all hands to the pump. On average, it takes at least a year to go through treatment programmes such as chemo and radiotherapy. That's a very sustained effort and the most loving relatives and friends will get tired. It's only human to need a bit of a prop to get through be it with shopping, lifts to hospital or taking a few hours out for your own needs."

No matter how much you feel for someone, it can be demanding physically and emotionally to stay buoyant. What the Living Tree is offering is an expert ear, practical help, books on many aspects of the illness and crucially, access to people who have experienced the same difficulties, like Jo. "It does make a difference when someone relates not just with compassion but really understands the rollercoaster you're on. We're here for anyone in West Dorset and the bordering counties, working in partnership with Dorset County Council through the Dorset Carers Support Project Fund, to share a care."

The Living Tree also meets weekly from 2.00-4.30pm on Friday afternoons, in welcoming, comfortable surroundings with refreshment facilities, at the Friends Meeting House, South Street, Bridport.

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