THE Westmorland Gazette’s Give Them a Break campaign aims to raise £20,000 to give carers much-needed respite. Celia Powell meets a woman keen to help out...

The owner of a holiday cottage in South Lakeland is backing the Gazette’s Give Them A Break campaign by donating a two night stay.

 Caroline Airey, from Kendal, said the campaign really ‘hit home’ for her when she read about it and she understood all too well the need for carers to be able to get some respite. 

Having lost her mother, Pat Forsythe, to onset dementia two years ago, Caroline has had first hand experience of taking care of a loved one. 

“Living locally, I was able to support my father in caring for my mother and provide much-needed respite for him on a regular basis, but I know others do not get a break from the 24/7 responsibility of caring for a loved one.” she said “If they do get a break, they often end up catching up on ‘jobs’ around the house and not actually relaxing!”

 Caroline wanted to give something back to the campaign, launched four weeks ago and felt that letting her holiday cottage free-of-charge would hopefully encourage other guest house owners and hoteliers to do the same. 

The newly-refurbished Lakeland stone cottage, located in Greenside, one of the oldest parts of Kendal, is described as ‘full of character and packed with traditional features.’ It is a two bedroom property with a newly-fitted kitchen and dining room.

As well as aiming to raise £20,000 to give carers a one-night break at a local hotel, the campaign is also seeking to encourage people to volunteer as counsellors or as sitter so that it could allow some carers to have a three hour break each month.

Caroline was able to step in for her late-father, Ken Forsythe, who died two years ago from cancer, so that he could have some time away. 

"My brother and I were able to support my dad in caring for mum when she lived at home so that he could get regular much-needed breaks,” she said. “He would use the time to get up in the hills rock climbing with his friends and recharge his energy levels.

“Proper respite for carers is something I feel quite passionately about and my father was lucky to have us and the rest of the family around at the time,” she told the Gazette. “Some carers can’t take a break without someone volunteering to step in.

“By doing this perhaps other residents around South Lakeland will jump on board and donate, be it through small financial means or a night away at their own holiday cottage.”

* If you would like to donate to the campaign, print off the form in the picituressection above and send it to The Westmorland Gazette (full details on the form).

You can also donate online just click here.