Peace Day: how carers are bringing peace to Croydon

By - Thursday 20th September, 2018

Finding time to be peaceful can be hard for carers. But there are ways…

peace spelt in wooden tiles

Photo public domain.

Friday 21st September is International Day of Peace, or Peace Day. Established by the United Nations in 1981, Peace Day ‘provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace’.

But what does peace mean for Croydon?

The need for peace

We are fortunate to live in a nation not currently experiencing conflict. Yet if peace is defined as inner ‘tranquillity’, then for many of us, peace seems miles away.

For those of us with a caring role, life can be particularly lacking in peace. Carers carry a myriad of difficult responsibilities on their shoulders. From providing meals, medication and personal care, to dealing with professionals, managing appointments and offering emotional support, carers are constantly on the go. Combined with the pressures of everyday life, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burned out.

The Carers Support Centre seeks to remedy this imbalance. Advice workers are available to offer information, advice and emotional support, without judgement. Carers can spend a quiet moment in the carers café, or forget their problems with some light-hearted chat and laugher. Whilst it is not possible to change everyone’s situation, it is possible to provide a support system, empowering carers with information and the knowledge that there is someone who understands.

The power of peace

On Peace Day, carers will gather at the Carers Support Centre to celebrate the importance of peace in our community. Led by singer and choir leader Katie Rose, the Croydon Carers Choir will sing peace phrases and affirmations to spread messages of love and tolerance in global languages.

Now approaching its fourth anniversary, Croydon Carers Choir offers unpaid carers in Croydon the opportunity to express themselves and develop inner peace through a range of musical styles from around the world.

Singer and choir leader Katie Rose is passionate about the peaceful influence of Croydon Carers Choir: “Singing together is an important source of peaceful respite for carers”, she says. “The Carers Choir is a safe space where people can come and sing in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.”

“When we feel at peace, we are better able to cope with life’s challenges”

According to Katie, the sense of internal peace created by the choir has a broader impact: “Finding sources of individual peace always has a positive ripple out effect – when we feel more at peace we are better able to cope with life’s challenges and to enjoy more peaceful, harmonious relationships with those around us”.

Choir participants tend to agree. “I forget my caring concerns for seventy-five minutes and return home with a light heart”, says one singer.

The need for peacemakers

Croydon photographer Rob Wilson Jnr will continue the celebrations by donating a series of photographs honouring the peaceful influence of local carers to the Carers Support Centre.

Originally created for his Who Keeps The Peace? exhibition at Croydon Clocktower, Rob’s photos feature local carers as unsung peacemakers in the community.

The Carers Support Centre will showcase these extraordinary photos with quotes from local carers, sharing their ideas for finding peace in busy, stressful lives.

Local carers.
Photo by Rob Wilson Jnr of Fluid4Sight, used with permission.

Rob truly believes in carers’ contributions to peace in Croydon: “It was a great honour to work alongside iconic Croydon groups and capture the faces of some of the people who strive behind the scenes to bring peace, harmony and cohesion into the lives of our communities every day”, he says.

On days like Peace Day, we tend to think about peace on a global scale. But we also have opportunities to think more locally about peace. Supporting Croydon’s unsung peacemakers and helping individuals find peace in their own lives can help us build a culture of greater tolerance and understanding.

Amy Deakin

Amy Deakin

Amy Deakin is the Communications and Publications Officer at the Croydon Carers Support Centre, a drop in advice centre for unpaid carers based in George Street, Croydon town centre.

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