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Barbara The Bread Cooks Up A Storm For Carers' Week

She’s renowned locally as Barbara the Bread and fans of Miskin’s Barbara Powell will be pleased to know she is still cooking up a storm!

As part of the celebrations for Carers’ Week next month, Barbara has contributed some of her delicious recipes to a new Carers’ Cookbook, which is packed full of their favourite meals and snack ideas.

The book has been released as part of Carers’ Week, an entire seven days dedicated to celebrating the work of our army of carers, aged from 0 to 80, who give their own time selflessly to care for a loved one who is ill, disabled or affected by substance misuse issues.

The week is packed full of events and awareness-raising initiatives aimed at carers, to help them continue doing the role they do so well.

Barbara, 72, is one of hundreds of people across Rhondda Cynon Taf who cares for someone else, working tirelessly to support her husband, Michael, 87, so he can live safely and independently in his own home.

Using a variety of support measures from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council – including a gardening service delivered by Learning Curve to provide employment and training opportunities for adults with learning disabilities, as well as respite care and home adaptations including rails, a wet room and stair lift – Barbara and Michael continue to enjoy life in Miskin.

Michael, a retired industrial radiologist, who travelled the world with his career, underwent a hip replacement over 10 years ago and this was the start of a series of setbacks that have left him barely able to walk. He has undergone various surgeries since and relies on Barbara to help him.

Further heartache endured when Barbara found out she had breast cancer – on the same day Michael was due to have further surgery on his hips.

Barbara’s illness forced her to give up her famous mail-order business which she ran in Pontyclun, offering products, advice and support to those suffering from food allergies and intolerances. It was this business which led to her securing the nickname Barbara the Bread.

Determined to keep moving forward, Barbara used the support offered by the Carers’ Support Project so she was as equipped as she could be to care for Michael.

She also launched the Bosom Pals support group for those with breast cancer. Currently based in Pontyclun, the group began as a group for women with breast cancer, but has since evolved to help all of those who are affected by cancer.

The huge local importance of Bosom Pals has been recognised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Mayor Cllr Barry Stephens, who has selected the charity of one of the good causes to benefit from his 2015-16 Charity Appeal.

While she can no longer run her business, Barbara maintains a key interest in cookery and especially providing support for those who, through conditions such as Coeliac disease, have food intolerances and allergies and must exercise strict dietary control. She also works with Velindre and University Hospital of London to look at diet related to cancer and choices people may wish to make in relation to the food they consume and the association it may have with cancer.

While life is busy for Barbara, she would not have it any other way and she is a shining example of the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm displayed by Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Carers.

They are all so important, which is why they have a dedicated Carers’ Support Project to ensure they have the support and skills they need, as well as advice on issues such as finance and returning to employment and social opportunities.

There is specific support for adult, young adult and young carers, as it has been recognised each age group has its own set of issues they need support with. This support includes dedicated workers.

Cllr Mike Forey, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for  Health and Adult Social Services and the Carers’ Champion, said: “Congratulations are definitely on the menu for Barbara and the many other carers who contributed some of their favourite menus to the cook book, which has now been published.

“It forms part of the wider Carers’ Week celebrations and events, organised by the Council for the benefit of carers of all ages who work so selflessly to help their loved ones live safely, independently and happily in their own homes.

“Because they do what they do, hundreds of people affected by illness, injury, disability or substance misuse issues are able to maintain independence.”

Carers’ Week runs in RCT from June 8 to 14 and a host of events have been organised, all of which are free for carers to attend.

These include:

  • Young Carers Count at the Cynon Valley Indoor Bowls Club from 6pm to 10pm on June 5, which will recognise and celebrate the role of young carers and young adult carers and the help and support they provide their families. It will also be a showcase of their talents and achievements.
  • Free foodie day out to the BBC Good Food Show at the Birmingham NEC from 8am to 7pm on June 11.
  • From DLA to PIP at Heddfan, Rhydyfelin from 10am to 1pm on June 10. This event is specifically for parent carers whose children are transitioning from children to adults or want to find out more about the process.
  • Carers’ Vintage Carnival at Rhondda Fach Sports Centre, Tylorstown, from 11am to 3pm on June 13. Fun for all the family with old-fashioned fete games including splat the rat, Aunt Sally, Bullseye, Hook a duck, the giant buzzer and more. There will be face-painting and a magician, as well as bouncy castle, candy floss, slide and ice cream bar.

Find out more about Carers’ Week, the events on offer and how you can secure support from the Carers’ Support Project by contacting 01443 668813 or email the Carers's Support Project

Enjoy the delicious carers' recipes in the Care To Cook Book