Redbridge carers giving support to people at the Crossroads

“IT’S a bit like taking a lid off a volcano,” says Joy Griffiths as she reflects on the support she gives to people living with a terminal illness.

The emotional rollercoaster of being given such an earth-shattering diagnosis can often isolate that person and their loved ones says Mrs Griffiths.

The 52-year-old fully qualified counsellor is there to lend an ear and give them someone to turn to.

“If I was going in to just to be a voyeur or just be a sponge, I don’t think that would be very helpful at all,” says Mrs Griffiths.

“I try to put myself in their situation and try to make a difference.

“The conversations people have with me, they don’t have with anyone else.”

The counselling service is provided by the Redbridge branch of charity Crossroads Care, which provides support for carers and the people they care for.

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“When you’re caring for someone full time, it can take its toll on you,” says mum-of-two Mrs Griffiths.

“They’re often grateful for any help you can give to them and their loved ones because they’re suffering a lot of heartache.”

The counselling service is open to carers and those with terminal illnesses, and one person who has benefited hugely from the help given is Sue Haycock.

The Crossroads carer was hit hard last year by the death of a pensioner she had been looking after for more than six years.

Unable to fully come to terms with his death, she sought help.

“I couldn’t cope with it,” says Mrs Haycock, of Ilford.

“Months after he died I would still burst out crying.”

The care support worker adds: “I was told about Joy and she really helped me. I’m so grateful to her.

“She’s nice and doesn’t push you.

“When you lose a loved one it’s just awful, absolutely awful.”

The one day a week free counselling service to Crossroads carers and service users is funded through a grant provided by the Macmillan Trust.

“They often don’t have anyone else to talk to,” says Mrs Griffiths.

“It’s a bit like taking a lid off a volcano.

“They often have so many things that they’ve put on the backburner because they’re using their capacity on something else.”

She adds: “By going in and making a real difference, knowing you are helping and touching people’s lives, it is the greatest reward.”

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