Hundreds of people in Barnet take care of a loved one who is ill, frail or has a disability.

But many of these unpaid carers do not have the support or vital information they need to cope with this huge, and often lifelong, responsibility.

Brian Altman, 61, has been sole carer of his wife Annette, 62, since they married in 1974.

Although he has given her all the care she needs, Brian has often found himself struggling for the support and information he needed as a full-time carer.


As a result, he has helped launch a forum in Barnet where fellow carers can socialise as well as seek the advice and information they require.

Brian said: “We’re still in love with each other after all these years. Annette’s a lovely woman. She has learning difficulties and can’t really read and write properly so I look after her financial affairs and give her the emotional support she needs.

“I like taking care of my wife, but if I could turn back the clock it would have been nice to have a forum like this to help me.  It would have made things a lot easier.

“That’s why I really want to get this group going and to help other carers out there. The forum is a great place to share your experiences of caring for someone as well as to get information.”

The Carers Forum steering committee currently has four members who are keen to sign up more volunteers as well as encourage carers, young and old, to attend the forums.

Carol Tilley, who sits on the steering committee, said: “We want all carers to get involved. Some people don’t recognise themselves as a carer – for instance a parent looking after their child -  but they are and we can help them.

"People can come along and express any concerns they have as well as get the advice they need.”

The forums will also provide up to date information on changes in legislation and look at current issues affecting carers.

A Carers Forum will be held every six weeks at various locations in the borough. For more information about the next meeting email Suki Sivananthan at Barnet Carers Centre via