“It’s a friendly atmosphere and there are people around to offer you support.”

Maureen Kettlety was one of over 300 carers in the past year to be welcomed with a cuppa, a cake and the chance to chat in the Marie Curie Carers’ Café at our Cardiff and the Vale Hospice

Women at a Marie Curie Carers Cafe on St David's Day
Caring for Carers Project Coordinator, Sarah Johnson, with carer Maureen Kettlety at the St David’s Day Carers’ Café

Caring for carers

Maureen has been helping to care for her sister Annie, who was diagnosed with cancer in November last year. Their parents were cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale, and Maureen says the café is a “fantastic” resource for local carers.

“It can be lonely when you’re supporting somebody, but if I do have a few bad days, I know I can come here and there will be people around who I can speak to and who can give me support. There’s always a good listening ear. I can bring my sister along to share things that she may not want to talk about in front of her family. You can learn about the services that are available, like the day therapy unit and reflexology, and get information about other support.”

As well as receiving advice and support, Maureen helps to provide refreshments, while encouraging other carers to come along and talking to them about their experiences.

“Once you get through that door the first time, you’ll never look back. I think the ambience is quite relaxing. It’s a warm, friendly atmosphere and there are people around to offer you support. I think that is what a lot of the people who come here are looking for.”

Making a real difference

The Carers’ Café takes place on the first and last Tuesday of every month and is led by hospice staff. On 1 March, the Caring for Carers in Wales team hosted a special St David’s Day café. They welcomed new visitors, which brought the number of supported carers to 303 in just one year.

The café has done so well that another has been opened in Llanelli. Sarah Johnson, who has been running the Marie Curie Carers’ Cafés, says she has been blown away by the project’s success.

“When we set up the first café a year ago, we never could have imagined supporting over 300 carers in a little over 20 sessions. We’ve been really pleased with the positive response. I think the most rewarding thing has been the feedback that we’ve received – that this café is making a real difference for the carers who attend, often providing them with support at a time when they need it the most.”

If you are caring for a family member or friend with terminal illness, you can: