A HOSPICE invited patients and their carers and families to enjoy some muchneeded time in the sunshine.

Havens Hospices laid on a summer barbecue as part of Carers’ Week, which aims to improve the lives of people who care for loved ones.

Fair Havens Hospice, Westcliff, and its community hospice service cares for adults with incurable illnesses.

Jill Simmonds, carers coordinator said: “Caring for someone who has a serious illness can be frightening and emotional, especially as most carers are husbands or wives and may not have had any previous experience of caring.

“The sense of responsibility, not only over the wellbeing of their loved one but other matters such as juggling work and managing finances, is something that carers should not feel they have to face alone.”

As part of her role, Jill hosts Time Out – drop-in sessions for carers whose loved ones are under the care of one of the hospice services, every Thursday morning at Fair Havens Day Care and the first Monday of every month at St Luke’s Place, Rochford.

It gives carers the chance to meet others in similar situations, get advice and practical tips from nurses and social workers and treat themselves to some relaxing complementary therapies.

Jill said: “Taking time out from caring for someone is extremely important as it can often involve a lot of lifting and sleepless nights as well as looking after regular household and family duties.”

To find out more about the support available to carers, visit havenshospices.