Multiple walking groups operate around Victoria. Pictured is a smaller group on a walk at the Botanical Gardens. ​

Mernda Community House has established a new support group in the Whittlesea area, providing carers with an opportunity to receive support, services, and resources, as well as keep active.

Supported by Interchange Outer East, the new Pathways for Carers group in Mernda was formed in addition to about 20 other similar groups in Victoria.

The group allows unpaid people who care for a loved one who is elderly, has a disability or mental illness to connect with other carers through monthly walks followed by morning tea, with guest speakers attending to provide information about services relevant to carers in their communities.

Interchange Outer East project manager Michelle Willoughby said the groups helped to remind carers they weren’t alone.

“It’s really just important that [carers] know pathways are there, with new people around it can be daunting but once they’re all there it’s great and they can be supported,” she said.

“It’s also about getting them connected and making sure they’re not isolated, as well as reminding them about the importance of carers taking time to themselves every now and then.”

Pathways for Carers Mernda was established through a grant and is intending to become self-sufficient in the future.

The group has hosted two walks, with about five carers attending.

Ms Willoughby said the walks were designed to help carers connect, as well as receive support for caring for others.

“The goal of each group is to provide carers with peer-based support, information, services and resources, opportunities to be active and connect with other carers, connect with nature and connect with their local community,” she said.

“These walks are led by carers, for carers.”

The next walk will be on Monday, July 18, beginning at Mernda Community House at 2 Heals Road, Mernda.

For more information, people can contact Paras Christou on 0475 454 133 or by emailing pchristou@whittleseacc.org.au.

For more information on the program, visit www.pathwaysforcarers.com.au.

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