Taking time for ourselves - Manchester Carers Forum Book Club
Miriam from Manchester Carers Forum Book Club tells us about the club and the importance of it in people's lives:
Manchester Carers Forum is a charity that exists to improve the lives of carers by identifying carers and their needs and by advocating and developing good practice to meet those needs.
You may be aware that Carers are the unseen and unsung heroes of our communities, undertaking significant caring responsibilities for families and friends and saving our economy nationally some £119 billion annually. Carers are a true example of the Big Society in action and undertake this responsibility at great personal sacrifice, often giving up paid employment to provide care for their loved ones. Caring is demanding and in many cases relentless. Anyone can become a carer at any time in their life.
As well as raising awareness of carers issues we run several support groups, training opportunities, and activities including a book club for carers.
Our book club
The book club has been running for a number of years now. We have an ebb and flow of carers joining depending on their caring commitments and often choose books to read that have been made into films so if carers don't have a chance to read the book, we all view the film together to discuss.
For us as an organisation, the importance of the book club is to allow carers to take a step away from their caring situation and take time out for themselves. It gives carers an opportunity to meet others and reduce isolation that can all so easily happen. We are a small and cosy group of between 6 - 10 carers at one time, although we welcome anyone who wants to join.
Sara says: I joined the group to give me an opportunity to read books outside my comfort zone. The warm friendly atmosphere is what keeps me coming to the group.
Brenda says: I love reading. It's great to share views with other readers and meet like minded people, who have become friends. Reading and writing is a way in which I take time out for myself from my caring role. For me reading is an escape into another world.
The Door to Another World
Brenda writes about how she helps to stay sane as a carer:
As I walked through the doors, I had a feeling of being wrapped in a warm blanket. It was bright and warm with soft white light bathing my face. I felt as though every tense muscle in my body was relaxing. I was conscious of a smile softening my face. This was pure, pure pleasure. The atmosphere was as calming as an afternoon stroll along a sandy beach warmed by the sun. With book in one hand and a milky coffee in the other, I sat down, opened my book and lost myself in the wonderful pages unfolding before me. I was transported to another time and place, imagined I was floating like a leaf over water. Rippling on Water over Stones. This was my escape. This is my Waterstones.
Our favourite Waterstones 11 reads
The book club won reading group sets of the 2012 Waterstones 11 titles - here are their favourites:
- Absolution by Patrick Flanery
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
- Signs of Life by Anne Raverat
Our top 5 recommended reads
- The Stone Angel by Margaret Lawrence
- Agent ZigZag by Ben MacIntyre
- The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
- True Grit by Charles Portis
If you are an unpaid carer living in Manchester and would like to join the book club, do get in touch on: 0161 819 2226.
Read about the Maidstone and Malling reading group and watch their video.
Check out our Mood-boosting book recommendations for carers.
If you run or are part of a reading group for carers, we'd love to hear from you. Please do get in touch to tell us your story.