In April Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group released funding to be administered by Carers Leeds to independent carers groups across the city. One of the successful applications was from Garforth based group the Jigsaw Tree. They got in touch to tell us how carers in their group have benefited from the funding.

“Over the summer, the Jigsaw Tree held an afternoon tea, Tè del pomeriggio, at a local cafe & bistro in Garforth. The Station House Cafe & Bistro is run by an Italian family who provide an authentic range of Italian homemade dishes served up in a warm and welcoming Mediterranean atmosphere.

Social isolation has a huge impact on the role of carers. This and 2 future events that we’ve planned will encourage carers of of autistic children in our support group to get together and socialise. Being a parent/carer of a child with autism can be very isolating and having opportunities like these in the company of other parents who understand are invaluable.

This event was a fantastic success with 15 parents attending the afternoon tea event, many of whom had never met each other before. Joanne and Luigi, from the Station House, welcomed us all in – as if it were their own home. The interior has a warm, shabby-chic decor that helped us all relax very quickly.  Within minutes we were all deep in conversation and the room was full of laughter.

Everyone had the option of choosing a traditional English afternoon tea or trying an Italian version. The English option involved a range of delicious sandwiches – salmon, ham & mustard egg & prawn. No afternoon tea would be complete without something sweet to go with our endless cups of tea. We were not to be disappointed – cakes, scones and various pastries.

When in Rome… many of us opted for the traditional Italian fare. Served on fresh home-baked foccacia bread – the options included Italian meats, frittata and grilled Mediterranean vegetables. Wow! We were spoilt. Not to be beaten by the English dessert offerings – we indulged in tiramisu, lemon tarts and various cannoli. Our servings were generous and we all had something each to take home.

Thank you Helen and Carers Leeds for making this event possible. I so looked forward to this event and it was a fantastic success. It really helped in a time when I needed my spirits raising before the long summer holidays. I loved spending time in person with people I usually only talk to online. The Station House were also just brilliant – when can we go again!?

A parent from the Jigsaw Tree group.

The Jigsaw Tree are incredibly grateful for this funding. As a small support group, funding of this nature goes a very long way to provide support and value to our parents. We have two further events planned; a parents night out at a local restaurant and, fingers crossed, a brewing day for some of our male parent-carers.”

It’s great to hear that this contribution can support so many carers across the community. If you run a carers group in Leeds, there is still funding available. See full details below.