Who Cares For The Carers?

In between writing novels, local author and editor Fiona Mitchell is a proud ambassador for Crossroads Care Richmond & Kingston, where she runs a book club for carers.

A typical day…

As well as working on my own material, I also edit books for writers who are trying to land publishing deals. Every day, I read clients’ work and write detailed editorial reports. The afternoon often involves a long walk. Later, after dinner, I might spend an hour doing Zoom sessions with writers. 

Once a month, I prepare topics for discussion for the Carers Book Club. We’re a warm and friendly group who always end up having a thought-provoking chat about what we liked about particular books and what we were less convinced by. We often share a good laugh too. Though Zoom has brought us together during the pandemic, all of us are looking forward to meeting up in person.

How I got my job

I started volunteering as a delivery driver with Crossroads when the pandemic first took hold. I had some lovely doorstep chats with people who were self-isolating. When Crossroads asked me to become an ambassador, I jumped at the chance.

Crossroads supports people who are carers by providing respite. Their team goes into the homes of people living with a range of conditions, including disability and Alzheimer’s. I’ve visited families to see first-hand what the care support workers do. They are remarkable people, exuding kindness and professionalism every step of the way.

The best part of my job

It puts me on a high when a client gets taken on by a literary agent. With Crossroads, I love experiencing how reading can transport people into other worlds. Reading is such great mind medicine.

Fiona Mitchell is the author of The Maid’s Room and The Swap (both Hodder & Stoughton). She has just completed her third novel.

Contact: fionamitchell.org/writing-critique/

• Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston CEO Julie Da Costa says:

‘It’s estimated there are 13.6 million unpaid carers across the UK (4.5 million more since the coronavirus outbreak began). While the past year has proved to be especially difficult, this is particularly true for carers and those they care for, as the long periods of isolation have disproportionately affected this group. 

‘The book club is an amazing way for carers to take time for themselves and develop new friendships. As such, we are incredibly grateful to Fiona for sharing her time and experience.’

Find out more at crossroadscarerk.org

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