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This might sound scary but it is a very sensible approach. The offline craft that we ran was effectively for teams. A team comprised of a craftee as we called them and a carer.

The carer was normally a professional support worker. It was the carers who did the practical every day support tasks.  For example, they made sure that craftees had the sort of refreshments that they needed. 

Occasionally a more senior carer came who expected to see the paperwork from those who regularly came. There was one father who came with his son, especially after the father had retired so had more time to spend with his son.

Another type of visitor we had was a specialist nurse. In the days before care in the community projects were set up people like our craftees lived in hospitals and of course, nurses work in hospitals so that made sense.

Other forms of specialist support

In other words, because of the type of person we attracted, the care element was built in. The people who came could not attend on their own because of the level of care that they needed hour by hour or even minute by minute.

One group I was leading, served people who were struggling with their mental health. There was one time when a lady (I will call her M) turned up with obvious problems with her arm. Our guess was that she had broken her arm. We knew that M liked to go out for a drink and wondered if she had fallen when she was drunk. A more experienced leader insisted that M went to hospital and in fact took her to accident and emergency to get her arm checked out.

That was when things got crazy. It was not a broken arm and M was admitted to hospital. It turned out that M’s sister in law had been trying to get her to see a doctor for days. The sister in law was a nurse and thought that M needed help due to a brain tumour that we had been told was no longer an issue.

M did not live very long after that. Members of the group went to see her in the hospital and then some went to say their goodbyes at a local care home.

It is essential that you can access emergency medical help for physical issues you also need to know who to access emergency help for other reasons. Knowing how to get help is an essential part of your emergency plan.

Connecting with specialists

There are people who run a craft group or other kind of support group in a room within a doctor’s surgery. The doctor offers the space as they want to support people doing good for their patients.

There are others who specialise in providing a space where it is OK to not be OK. They do not present themselves as mental health specialists but they offer a place for people who struggle with a mental health condition to be themselves in a supportive environment. However, they make a point of being on friendly terms with the local mental health team. Because they know and trust each other people can be directed from one to another if and when necessary.

One of the joys of having a computer in your pocket that can access the internet is that the majority of things that you can do online you can do on your phone. It means if you want to check if someone is telling the truth when they say a polar bear’s skin is black you can do so. Yes, that was a real question that came up in a craft group one day.

Of course, if you can use a phone to check the colour of a polar bear’s skin you can find answers to virtually any question that may arise. If they need help with a particular issue ask the right question online and you will be able to help them find an answer.

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