Search

View from the street: Kind and more imaginative provision for carers to lessen acute loneliness

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 June 2018

Archant

A few weeks ago the “literati” of Crouch End were invited to celebrate the first birthday of our new Waterstones.

Its anniversary party was open to the public and felt a bit like having our own little corner of the Hay festival all to ourselves.

I was among seven local authors asked to read from a passage of a favourite book published in the last year.

I chose an achingly poignant, sparely written couple of pages about the life of Irene, who cares for her son Andrew with special needs, from Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13.

It’s a tiny vignette in a novel that is itself a vignette about a community.

It caught my eye because writers rarely tackle the story of the carer – the aloneness of a life so often made worse because it can feel that no one really understands.

Richard Curtis also captured this beautifully in his 2003 film Love Actually – with the character of Sarah who loses her lover Karl when her institutionalised mentally ill brother becomes uncontrollable without her.

In one of the most devastatingly sad moments of the film, we see her missing the party and weeping bitterly as she realises she cannot sustain both relationships.

Stories are a means by which imagination, understanding, and thereby kindness, can grow.

JK Rowling celebrated imagination in her famous Harvard University address: “Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced.

“They can think themselves into other people’s places.”

It will be interesting to see whether the new Labour leadership of Haringey Council, now with an expanded coterie of Lib Dem councillors, will distinguish itself as being any kinder and more imaginative in its provision to carers and their disabled family members.

The last lot demonstrated neither quality, with a slash and burn policy over 10 years that has left us with virtually no publicly provided lunch clubs, day centres or residential homes.

One of the last acts of our outgoing councillors was to sign the death warrant of Haringey’s last publicly provided nursing home, Osborne Grove in Stroud Green, leaving only one elderly nursing facility in the whole of Haringey, over in Tottenham.

At our pre-election carers’ hustings last month, Cllr Zena Brabazon, representing Labour, admitted that they had fallen short: “I will not defend the closures which took place,” she said.

“Our inward looking council needs to become an outward looking one. Working with users and families is critical. We want to change and rebuild trust.”

There have already been a couple of green shoots: the closure of Osborne Grove has been put on hold, and the council is reinstating the £1,000 grant for our carers’ coffee morning – so carers, who very rarely get a holiday, can have their annual seaside trip after all.

It is early days.

With the political pack re-shuffled and a quite a few new characters added, we will have to wait and see whether the page has been turned and a new story is about to be told.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 16:03

A man has appeared in court over a hit and run crash which killed Camden man Richard Dougherty last month.

Yesterday, 10:26

“Today’s ruling [...] focuses on procedure rather than the merits of the scheme.”

Yesterday, 10:24

A cycling campaigner has blamed CS11’s legal defeat on Transport for London’s “watering down” of the project – and said it is time for London mayor Sadiq Khan to “improve his politics game”.

Yesterday, 09:18

Westminster North MP Karen Buck joined parents and children to protest the sudden closure of Queen’s Park Nursery.

Yesterday, 08:07

Campaigners from Greenpeace staged a protest outside the Camden High Street Marks and Spencer on Saturday to urge the high street giant to crack down on its use of single-use plastic.

Mon, 17:33

Senior coroner Mary Hassell has today unveiled the new policy that will dictate how her office decides which deaths to deal with first.

Mon, 15:24

The Luna Cinema was back in Alexandra Palace park this weekend and crowds enjoyed special screenings of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Breakfast Club.

Mon, 12:37

There’s “room for improvement” for Camden’s community centres when it comes to access for people with disabilities, according to a report from campaigners and the borough’s Healthwatch group.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now