Saluting Sylvia Thompson
‘Saluting our Sisters’ is the theme for this year’s Black History Month and we would like to salute Sylvia Thompson who is a Family Support Worker for Birmingham Children’s Trust and a Carer for her mother who has celebrated her 100th birthday this year!
Like many Carers, Sylvia juggles lots of tasks and responsibilities, including running a Carers support group in her own time. Sylvia is the founder and organiser of the Birmingham Black Carers Support Group which started in 2016.
Sylvia started the group because she had identified that the cultural needs and understanding of black Carers and the challenges, they were facing were the missing link within the community and official agencies.
People join carer support groups for a variety of reasons – to meet new people and share experiences with like-minded people, to get some time out of the house, and to take part in activities they enjoy.
The support groups that Birmingham Carers Hub offers are warm and welcoming where refreshments as well as friendly smiles are readily available. However, we understand that going to a Carers support group for the first time can be daunting, especially if you go alone and you don’t know anybody there.
To get the most out of a Carers support group, it’s important to feel comfortable so that you can open up to the rest of the group, to share your feelings and experiences without feeling judged or being made to feel uncomfortable in any way.
Carers with an African Caribbean heritage may face unique challenges and experiences that are specific to their cultural background. Having a support group that understands and identifies with you can provide a safe and supportive space to share your feelings, exchange advice, and receive emotional support.
Sylvia wanted to create a support group where carers would feel relaxed and embraced, share similar experiences, laugh and eat patties together while building a sense of community to reduce feelings of isolation. Sylvia’s support group aspires to allow Carers to completely be themselves, connect with each other and feel comfortable enough to open up to the rest of the group should they choose to.
When is the Birmingham Black Carers Support Group?
The online support group is usually on the first Monday of every month from, 7.30 until 8.30 pm to accommodate Carers who are working in a paid job during the day. This group is for people caring for older adults or those with mental health issues. Please contact Sylvia on 07846 222913 for more information, to check that the group in going ahead and for the zoom link. Join to get professional information and advice, peer support, listen to guest speakers, make friends and have some great conversations! Dates may vary and this group is unlikely to run on bank holidays or during festive periods. Please contact Sylvia to check.
There is also a support group for Carers to meet at a venue during the day, from 10.00am until 2.00pm where there are often guest speakers and a delicious lunch to enjoy. The support group is held at Seventh Day Adventist Church, 24 Windsor Street (off Forster Street) Nechells, Birmingham B7 4HX.
The group will next meet on Friday 27 October 2023. Please text or call Sylvia on 07846 222913 to let her know if you can make it, this way she can make sure there is enough for everyone to eat. For further dates, please visit our What’s On page.