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Healthy Parent Carers is recruiting now

Big Lottery Fund supports Exeter health research

A support programme to help parents of disabled children stay healthy in mind and body has received a funding boost of nearly £40,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, to help it expand.

Healthy Parent Carers (HPC) is a peer-led programme for parent carers of disabled children (aged up to 25 years) aimed at improving their emotional and physical health and wellbeing. 

There are an estimated 960,000 disabled children in the UK, and their parents are at risk of having poorer mental and physical health than other parents. The Peninsula Childhood Disability Research Unit (PenCRU) at the University of Exeter Medical School, has worked together with families with disabled children in their Family Faculty to co-develop an innovative and promising programme to improve the health and wellbeing of these parent carers.

The programme encourages behaviours associated with better health and wellbeing. These behaviours are denoted by the acronym CLANGERS, inspired by doctor, comedian and broadcaster Dr Phil Hammond from his book Staying Alive. CLANGERS stands for Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice, Give, Eat well, Relax and Sleep. The programme can be provided in groups of parent carers and through online resources to help people progress at home.

It has been trialled with a small group of parent carers who felt the programme was valuable in building resilience and identifying specific strategies to deal with the challenges that parent carers commonly face.

Now, thanks to National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery and the National Institute for Health Research (the research part of the NHS), the programme can reach out to communities and deliver the programme to parent carers across the South West while collecting feedback from parent carers who take part, with the ultimate aim of rolling it out nationwide in the future.

Tom McCulloch, Head of Funding for the South West region at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We’re proud to be funding this project which works closely with parent carers in Exeter. Thanks to National Lottery players, The Healthy Parent Carers programme will benefit families as part of this project, helping them to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Trial Manager Dr Gretchen Bjornstad said: “Healthy Parent Carers aims to provide support for parent carers so they can develop the skills and confidence to improve their emotional wellbeing and physical health. We’re incredibly grateful for this funding, which means we can deliver our programme to parents of disabled children in communities across the South West and find out whether it can be delivered across the country.

HPC is recruiting in locations across the South West now. To sign up or for more information visit the website.

Date: 22 January 2019

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