Caring Changes Sunderland A launch event for DISC’s Caring Changes Sunderland service attracted around 50 service users, staff and other stakeholders to Washington Community Fire Station.

The event showcased a short film made to raise awareness of the difficulties carers face when coping with a loved one’s drug or alcohol misuse. It also promoted the support that is offered at Caring Changes.

Project Coordinator Kate McKeown, said Caring Change’s own craft club decorated the fire station with knitted and crocheted decorations, and held a craft stall where attendees could decorate knitted snowmen and Christmas cards.

Paul Booth, Wear Recovery, expertly taught a range of Capacitar holistic wellness practices to help service users tap into the wisdom of their own body, mind and spirit.

The event finished with a performance from the Basement Harmonies singing group to further showcase the range of activities offered to service users.

Kate said: “The launch event was important to raise awareness of hidden carers among other agencies in Sunderland and to increase identification and referral of this group.”

She said the film received very positive feedback from representatives from the Jobcentre, and Gentoo (Sunderland Council’s primary housing association), who have both invited Caring Changes to show it to their staff. While Live Life Well, have offered to run Health and Wellness Sessions for Caring Changes service users.

Kate explained the launch was important to the work and values of DISC, as the film and event was a fantastic example of service user involvement. The carers contributed enormously to the content of the film and made the launch event their own, decorating the venue, making the carol booklets to sing and running stalls that showcased their creative efforts from knitting and crafts, to drawing and creative writing.