Meet Vera – the Sunderland carer who cares for other carers

Amanda Brown, deputy chief executive officer at Sunderland Carers Centre, left, with volunteer Vera Lorraine.
Amanda Brown, deputy chief executive officer at Sunderland Carers Centre, left, with volunteer Vera Lorraine.

One of Sunderland’s most dedicated carers has marked more than two decades of devoting her life to others.

Volunteers at Sunderland Carers’ Centre threw a party for Vera Lorraine, who is celebrating 22 years working with the organisation.

Even at 83, Vera remains a committed volunteer at the local charity, continuing to work two days every week at the centre, which supports carers throughout the city.

Vera said: “Like a lot of people, I initially came to Sunderland Carers’ Centre for support when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I found it such a lovely experience that it wasn’t long before I began to help as a volunteer.

“There is always a warm welcome, a nice cup of tea and plenty of people to talk to at the centre.

“I began volunteering at the centre each Wednesday - answering the phones, helping with the newsletter and anything else that needed doing around the office.

“Then, after a while, I became a board member, and went on to be a carers representative. I now offer support in the centre welcoming carers and offering a listening ear.”

Sunderland Carer’s Centre provides a confidential information, support and guidance service to carers throughout Sunderland. It is based at Thompson Road in Southwick.

Vera said: “As soon as I walked into the centre, I knew I would like it and it was for me. There’s a feeling of acceptance here, and I think that’s just what people need - to feel relaxed and supported in their caring role.

“It’s great to be able to volunteer here and give back to a centre that has done so much to help people in the local area. I’m sure I’ll stay here for as long as I’m needed.”

Amanda Brown, deputy chief executive officer at Sunderland Carers’ Centre, said: “Vera has been committed to the centre for a long time now, and we thought it was about time we had a celebration to say thank you for all of her efforts.

“Volunteers like Vera are just what the centre needs to continue to be a success and provide help to those who need it.”

Amanda added: “We work hard to ensure there’s a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in our centre to provide a break from isolation.

“Everyone needs support, and our volunteers are a big part of providing this support.”

Sunderland Carers’ Centre provides a listening ear and a range of advice and support to carers from across the city.

It is supported by Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Sunderland City Council, and as a registered charity also relies on support from private donations to continue to deliver support to Sunderland’s carers.

To find out more about Sunderland Carers’ Centre, visit www.sunderlandcarers.co.uk, call them on 0191 549 3768 or pop in to the Centre on Thompson Road.