Meet the Mentors – Carers Week.

19 06 2012

It’s Carers Week. We’ve written plenty about carers and caring on this blog before: caring can be hugely rewarding but also extremely challenging, with carers often making huge sacrifices to care for family members or loved ones. Carers Week aims to bring attention to the huge numbers of those caring long hours, struggling to balance their duties with work, unpaid, and the huge numbers of young people who are providing hours of care per week.

Among our mentors we have carers young and old who want to share their experience and advice to help others in the same situation. If you’re seeking support as you provide care to a loved one, maybe a mentor could help?

Clara43, 44, from South Yorkshire
‘I was a young carer for my mum who has mental health problems and after training I set up and managed a young carers project providing emotional and practical support, information, advice and advocacy as well as therapeutic work. Many people when feeling alone and isolated turn to the internet for help. I hope to be a port of call for this.’

Shelley9912, 24, graduate in Forensic Psychology
‘My mother is mentally ill and she requires full-time care. Separate from the fact that my mother is mentally ill I know very well how it is to be a carer. I have sacrificed a lot to look after and help my mother and I know that sometimes those sacrifices that we make can go unnoticed. I know that being a carer can be very daunting at first.’

nicemum, 49, an adopter and birthmum
‘I’ve been a young carer who supported a parent suffering from depression and bereavement and two younger siblings. This is a mighty burden for any child to bear and it is a deeply formative experience, I am happy to talk to any carers out there.’

CateH, 40, a self employed childminder
‘I was a carer for my mum for many years, she had leukemia and dementia so I know how hard it is to be a carer and the need for support. I was my mum’s full time carer having given up work, so I lost a whole way of life. I miss her terribly and know the pain, physical and emotional, that comes with grief.’

carriesyrup, 29, a carer and reiki therapist
‘I look after my mum who has mental health problems, so I am a carer to my mum and also work as a carer for the elderly.  I love what I do and I love helping others. It has made me a better person in myself and now I am at a stage where I can help others through similar situations.’

To contact any of these mentors, simply click ‘contact mentor’ on their profile. If you are new to horsesmouth, you will need to register first – it’s free and easy! To search for other mentors to contact, or to sign up as a mentor yourself, go to our homepage. Good luck and happy mentoring!


Share while you care: how mentoring can help carers.

22 03 2012

There are six million people in the UK who care, unpaid, for a parent, sibling or friend who is sick, frail or disabled. Whilst it can be intensely rewarding to be able to offer care to a loved one in this way, it can also be draining and frustrating. Government funding to support carers is scarce and often difficult to qualify for and carers often find themselves struggling to juggle work, life and family on top of their caring duties.

Support and mutual advice can be invaluable if you are going through the mill of being a carer. As you are caring for a loved one, it can be difficult to admit the difficulties and frustrations of the situation you are in, as they are tied up with strong feelings of guilt and other complex emotions.

Anonymous peer mentoring with those who understand exactly what you are going through can be an invaluable source of support and encouragement, as well as a great outlet to get things off your chest. We have mentors who are carers, both young and old, offering advice and support based on a close understanding of what you are going through. Because they are going through it as well.

Let’s meet some of the horsesmouth mentors who have been there done that; are currently or have been carers, offering their wisdom and support to help others.

Nicemum, 48, says: ‘I’ve been a young carer who supported a parent suffering from depression and bereavement and two younger siblings. This is a mighty burden for any child to bear and it is a deeply formative experience, I am happy to talk to any carers out there.’

Shelley9912 is a young graduate, currently caring full-time for her mother. ‘Separate from the fact that my mother is mentally ill I know very well how it is to be a carer. I have sacrificed a lot to look after and help my mother and I know that sometimes those sacrifices that we make can go unnoticed.’

‘I know that being a carer can be very daunting at first. I know how upsetting it can be to help someone look after their personal hygiene for the first time. I have been a carer for quite some time now. I have useful systems to help myself with my mothers different medications and hospital appointments and doctors appointments and mental health team appointments.’

Helpu is a grandfather and civil servant, caring for his wife with Alzheimers. ‘I work in government on the commercial side and have experienced the pain of living with someone with Alzheimers for 10 years. I have been a carer of someone with this illness and I understand the fears, frustration and guilt that carers can experience.’

‘My motivation is that I want to help other people as I was helped. This is a good means of helping as its very anonymity makes it easier for people to talk. I dont have all the answers but I can listen and thus offer the chance for the person with the problem to bring everything to the open and for them to find their own answers.’

Henskm, 54, is a nursing sister and a grandmother, who cared for her father with Alzheimers. ‘My Dad is my sole motivation for joining horsemouth, so I can carry on giving and attempting to understand and console people whose nearest and dearest have dementia. You are not on your own even though your world is crashing down on you and what you have known as normal, like me having a lovely Dad who was so much part of my life, changed to someone that changed so much. Although he recognised me to the last. This is his legacy, that I can help others.’

Do these stories ring a bell with you? If so, connect today. We partner with Living well with dementia, browse their mentor profiles here. Or, search on the homepage using keywords.

For more advice and information on caring visit:

Meet the mentor.

23 05 2012

As part of Dementia Awareness Week, we would like you to meet kennc: a mentor with our partner Living Well With Dementia. He is 62 and has early onset Lewy body dementia. A Dignity Champion, he mentors on horsesmouth to help others and give as much support as possible to everyone on the dementia journey. He agreed to share with us his experiences of mentoring on horsesmouth.

‘When I was told about horsesmouth I really did not know what it was nor did I understand what it was trying to achieve. However it soon became part of my life and I found that as someone with the illness, I could help others, whether they were people with dementia, carers, loved ones, or family friends.’

‘I have helped quite a few people and feel as if I have gained many new friends in return.’

‘This is an independent website where people can go for impartial support and advice about any illness, and no matter what illness you have there is always someone there to help and support you, day and night.’

‘Most of those on this website have experience in one form or another and although dementia is a big topic we always try to help, but do not give medical advice.’

‘The main problem is that although there are around 12 different types of dementia, there are well over 120 variations of the illness and each person goes down a different route and has different symptoms, so no two people with the illness are the same and this causes many problems with people who think that their symptoms don’t match the norm.’

‘I feel that it is sometimes a very good thing to have something like horsesmouth, as we get diagnosed with illness such as dementia and we feel totally numb, and after the diagnosis has sunk in the questions start to come. But there is not always someone around to give you the answers and this is where horsesmouth can come into its own, as there are people there most of the time and quite a few have the illness.’

‘I also feel that many people could enjoy the experience of mentoring and supporting others in their time of need, and when it works well you really get a buzz and a sense of achievement, ‘a job well done’, so I would recommend it to anyone who wants to become a mentor and help others through a difficult time, and usually help yourself in the process.’

‘So if you are willing to help and have the free time why don’t you come and join us?’

Why not take kennc up on on his invitation? You could start a mentoring relationship today that could change your life. Our Living Well With Dementia mentors have a wide range of experience. To read more, and maybe meet your future mentor, click here.

Dementia Awareness Week.

21 05 2012

In support of Dementia Awareness Week, we will be sharing profiles and real-life stories of our Living Well With Dementia mentors. We have mentors sharing honest first-hand experience of dealing with dementia, and others who care for those dealing with it, whether as a paid carer, family member or friend.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates as the week goes on, or check back here, as we hope to post first-hand accounts of how mentoring on horsesmouth has helped those living with dementia.

In the meantime, check out this great clip from the Alzheimer’s Society Remember The Person campaign. Five things you should know about dementia.

Meet the mentors who defy definition.

20 04 2012

Something we regularly notice at horsesmouth HQ is how our mentors rarely have only one story to tell; an entrepreneur may also be a single parent, struggling to make the balance work. A teenager may also be a carer for an elderly parent. These varied frameworks of experience are of course what makes the individual advice of each mentor so valuable. Each different perspective, informed with a unique set of references, adds up to a fresh angle on whatever problem or goal you might be trying to tackle.

Today we wanted to introduce a few of our mentors who can’t be defined by the ticking of a box.

Meet entrepreneur and family man MVN. As well as mentoring on how to grow start-ups and mid-size companies, his personal life has given him insight into relationships and bringing up children.

‘Having got divorced when my daughters were 9 and 13 and then bringing them up alone for the next 11 years, I gained great insight into teenage development, pressures and relationships with their peers and adults. My own marriage ended due to my wife’s infidelity so adding that experience to that of my kids’ means I can talk with some personal insights into the pressures that happen in many relationships.’

Likewise, toastedbun. With experience at director and manager level in several SMEs, as well as starting several businesses up from scratch, he is happily married with one stepdaughter, having been through the divorce, family courts and learned a lot about life’s ups and downs.

As well as offering business advice, he wants to mentor on how to deal with stress, saying, ‘Having been through this myself I can understand and help those going through a stressful time either at work or with the family. I have learned a lot about how to cope and how to solve the issues that cause stress.’

Onioncompany describes herself as, ‘almost a workaholic but a love of life prevents me from tipping over the edge into 60 hour weeks.’ She’s passionate about helping small businesses and firmly believes that they are the life blood of the British economy. But as well as that, she is passionate about interior design. ‘Just a passion of mine and apparently I’m not too bad at it! I’m also a great lover of photography, art, antiques, travel and food.’

Noridoha is one of our 4Talent mentors and has had an incredible portfolio career, with over ten years experience in developing and pitching TV ideas. However, as well as this she is a published author. ‘I never thought I ‘had a book in me’, until I signed up for a writing course on a whim.  I secured my first choice agent within a few days of submitting my proposal and got a publisher contract not long after that. I can advise you on how to write a book proposal and on what happens after you get a contract.’

Wings is a self-defined housewife, but the clue is in the name as to her other alter-ego; she is also a trained pilot. ‘I may not be a professional, but I have life experience, having been happily married for 21 years, and I have a daughter of 20 and a son of 17. I have started my own business and have volunteered in various capacities. I am also a pilot, having learned to fly at the ripe old age of 40!’

Chameleon went from being bullied at school, which she offers mentoring on, to moving to a forest in Norway to set up a retreat. ‘ I have been living there for two years, during which time I have had lots of time to think over my life and come close to who I really am. Now that I don’t have so many distractions, no TV, newspapers, radio, I can hear my own voice again, and it is amazing that I surrounded myself with so many superficial things for so long.’

And last but definitely not least, is Assistocrat. Having started and grown successful businesses, he is now an investor. ‘I invest in a broad range of assets including equities, funds, derivatives and commodities, as well as more exotic niche instruments. I am a chartist at heart and over the last ten years have developed and refined my trading system and style.’ But as well as his successful business ventures he has also authored over 35 books, including fiction and many nonfiction titles.

Proof that there really are two sides to every coin; an impressive variety of experience and achievement. To contact any of these mentors for advice, register to join the horsesmouth community today.

‘I’d like to find my passion.’

17 02 2012

As the community manager here at horsesmouth, part of my job is to check that the mentor requests on our homepage get matched up with relevant mentors. This morning, I found this new call for help and couldn’t wait to pass some possible mentors along.

Hi! I happened across this site looking for a mentor or ‘life coach’. Usually those are also called parents. I never had any and while I have made it successfully enough through life, feel as though I am missing some important aspects. I’d like to find my ‘passion’ and live a happier life.

Please let me know if you might be able to help at all.

Thank you so very much, I sincerely appreciate it.

It’s a really touching call for help but to me the line, ‘I’d like to find my passion,’ really rang out. One of the great things about horsesmouth is that every mentor has a story, but some really stick out as particularly inspirational and visionary. I couldn’t wait to pop some along to our caller for help and, hopefully, have him find a mentor to encourage him to find his passion. I wanted to share a few of their stories with you. (And these are just a few among many!)

Chameleon, the forest dweller. Chameleon moved to Norway where she lives in a hut in the forest.  She has lived there for 2 years, thinking and cutting herself off from distractions of TV, newspapers, radio. She’s opening a retreat this year.

Wings – the flying housewife. Wings is the mother of two children, has been married for 21 years, started her own business and learned how to fly at 40.

Marbles, the superstar DJ. Marbles went from being a bedroom DJ to playing Glastonbury, having a top 30 record and now has a BBC Radio slot and a internet and publishing companies.

Joyuriel, the painter, poet and writer. Joyuriel is ’58 winters of age’, student in life, painter, poet, writer and also academic. Professionally qualified as a Parenting Consultant and in Youth Work. Carer for an autistic son. Breast cancer survivor.

Aglobal, the fun-loving global entrepreneur. Aglobal is a serial global entrepreneur whose motto is, ‘It’s all a game, lets play it.’ He says, ‘My vision is of a world of friends with one hand extended up to be lifted to higher achievements, and one hand extended down to lift a friend.’

When you read these mentors’ stories, all of whom have such active and busy lives but still find time to volunteer to mentor anonymously, I am sure you will agree they are incredibly inspiring. I hope our caller for help will find inspiration and hopefully, even his passion, with the advice and support of one or another of these mentors.

If you feel you can help our caller for help find his passion, go here if you’re a horsesmouth mentor, or register here to become a mentor.

Living well with dementia

25 01 2012

Alzheimer’s Research UK  has this week called on the government to commit to a national dementia research strategy and more focused funding.

The charity published a report, Defeating Dementia, highlighting the fact that nearly a million people live with dementia in the UK, however scientists working on cancer outnumber those working on dementia by more than six to one.

The Alzheimer’s Society supported the findings of the report, saying, ‘The under-investment in research into dementia has been well documented and ARUK is right to champion this issue. Dementia currently costs the UK £20 billion each year, and this figure will rise to £27 billion by 2018. The UK government invests eight times less on dementia research than cancer research.’

‘Alzheimer’s Society spends £6million on research each year, but charities should not have to plug the gap for government investment. Even in tough times, the government has to spend more if we are ever to offer the thousands of people living with dementia hope of better treatments or a future cure.’

Whilst it is good news that the issue is being pulled up for debate, there is clearly a lot of work to be done in supporting people with dementia, their friends, family and carers. On horsesmouth we partner with Living well with dementia to share information and advice on dealing with the challenges of dementia, and how to gain confidence that it is possible to live well and continue to play an active and useful role in society.

Our mentors have broad experience, from those living with dementia, to their relatives young and old, carers and friends. Gaining anonymous support online can be invaluable. Mentor helpu shares his experience of coping with his mother’s descent into dementia, here. He credits mentoring online with helping him through it. ‘Find some one you can talk to – for me it was some kind people I met online which is my motivation for doing this.’

Angie has 25 years experience in caring for those with dementia. She explains why she mentors online: ‘I want to help people through what can be a difficult lengthy period … family members supporting a loved one is physically and emotionally draining and they just need someone to understand them. I am hoping I can be that person they can talk to.’

As well as seeking advice from our mentors, if you are affected by dementia in any way you can sign up as a Living well with Dementia mentor to help others. We want to enable people with experiences of dementia to offer one another support and empower those seeking advice to choose the right mentor for them.

Help us reach people affected by dementia by distributing the Living Well with Dementia on Horsesmouth poster and leaflet.

Download the A5 leaflet
Download the A4 Poster


Mentor Mondays

5 12 2011

Today we are going to meet Ali71, a strategic manager of dementia services with 16 years experience of providing professional support and advice to people with dementia and their families. As she says herself, she is a dementia passionista and if she had to describe herself in three words they would be, ‘dynamic, empathic, real.’ She mentors on horsesmouth in association with one of our partners, Living well with dementia.

How would you describe yourself?

Well, I am a dementia passionista, in a nutshell. I have worked with people living with dementia for the past 16 years and it is my lifetime aim to support people to make changes in dementia services to have greater choice and control of their lives. I’m a University of Bradford graduate in Dementia Studies and work as a strategic & operational manager of dementia services in a local authority in London. I started off as a support worker on a pilot dementia project with the vision of becoming a nurse. However, I loved the job so much I developed my knowledge and skills to work my way to become become an operational manager of a thriving dementia sevice.

As a person I am very dynamic and love to develop new services that challenge the norm. I like to think out of the box to create opportunities for people living with dementia. Two of my grandparents had dementia when I was a child , which has helped my empathy and support for children and families living with dementia.

Tell us about your experience

I am able to listen and advise carers of people living with dementia about all aspects of dementia. I am someone that works with people in partnership to help find solutions to problems and develop coping strategies. I’ve 16 years experience of providing professional support and advice to people with dementia and their families.
I have solid experience of developing new services and initiatives. I am keen to develop more community based peer support networks, where members of the community develop their own groups to meet their individual needs and receive support from professionals to maintain their groups, away from traditional services. I can offer advice and support to individuals or groups wanting to start out or help trouble shoot current service problems.

Why mentor on horsesmouth?

I feel that my experience can help support and benefit others. If you consider life to be a race , you always have to pass on the baton so people can carry on. I believe in fair access to services for all. I think that if we all share ideas then services and support can develop across the country and there are not just small pockets of places where people benefit from services and others have nothing. Dementia is a progressive illness and there will be more and more people needing advice, support and signposting. We should help people to live the lives they want not be directed to services that don’t suit them or worse still left without answers or lonely. I dare to make a difference in all that I do and all I get back from this is knowing I am helping others.

Click here to contact Ali71 with your mentoring requests.

Welcome to the horsesmouth blog

1 12 2011

Welcome to the brand new blog from horsesmouth. Make sure to follow us to keep up-to-date with the latest mentoring news, discussions, opportunities, and much more. We’ll be highlighting the profiles of interesting horsesmouth mentors, sharing some of our success stories, and bringing you the latest updates from our partnerships with organisations such as 4Talent, The National Apprenticeship Service, Living well with dementia and The Guardian.

To make sure you keep up with the latest you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

On Monday we’ll kick off Mentor Mondays, where we share the profile of one our inspirational mentors.  See you back here then? For now, here’s a little reminder of what horsesmouth is all about.

Horsesmouth is where social networking meets social enterprise; where personal contributions create public value; where human capital is unlocked to create social capital. It’s social networking with a purpose. It’s social networking for grown-ups. We call it the wisdomocracy.

Be a mentor
If you’ve lived, you’ve learned. From starting a business to starting a family, from living with cancer to life as a carer, from which NVQ to embarking on an MBA. What did you do right? What do you regret? What pearls of wisdom would you pass on? The skills and knowledge you’ve gained could be invaluable to people facing the same choices and challenges; people you might otherwise never meet and who would never be lucky enough to meet you. Now with horsesmouth there’s a safe, easy and rewarding way to ‘give something back’.

Find a mentor
When faced with a choice, challenge or change in life, do you ever wonder how other people coped with the same situation? What choices did they make and how did they turn out? Wouldn’t it be useful if you could talk to someone who’s ‘been there, done that’ and is willing to share their first-hand experience with you? And wouldn’t it be great if that could be anonymous, confidential and secure? It’s always better if you can get wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth. And now you can.