Carer writes to PM: Carers are being treated like second class citizens

Ex-Nunney woman writes to David Cameron: Carers are being treated like second class citizens

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: March 20, 2014


Bryony Brook, second right, her husband Elliott and daughters Phoebe and Amber with Mayor Belinda Donovan at the launch of the Goaloids sculpture on Shepherds Bush Green

A FORMER Nunney woman has written to Prime Minster David Cameron in disgust at her treatment since her husband died suddenly over Christmas.

Mother-of-two Bryony Brook, who now lives in Bruton, cared for her husband Elliot for six years after he suffered a stroke in 2007 aged just 37.

Mr Brook, an artist and photographer, died suddenly on Christmas Eve 2013 of pancreatitis.

Since then Mrs Brook said she has had no support from the Government after being refused bereavement and widows’ payment, the mobility car she relied on was taken away and all her other benefits stopped.

She said: “If it wasn’t for the support of friends from the Frome and Bruton area, I don’t know where we would be.

“It has just been a horrible time, trying to sort everything out and grieve for Elliott, while having little support from the authorities. Elliott had not earned enough over the years for me to be able to be eligible, which has left me increasingly in debt.

“But I want to thank each and everyone of the people who has helped me, especially artist Mel Day, who set up a Facebook page in which someone came forward with a free car and the people donated money to help with the insurance.

“Other friends have bought paint and redecorated my daughters, Phoebe and Amber’s bedrooms, which was so thoughtful.”

Mrs Brook, who is an author and poet, said she is so upset at how she has been treated that she decided to write a poem and sent it to Mr Cameron in the hope that the policies on carers are looked into and changed.

She said: “Elliott was so well known in the community and a brilliant artist, he created the Olympics Goaloids, a 41-foot sculpture, part of Hammersmith and Fulham’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad, which took four years to create.

“He had so many projects to complete and I am going to fulfil those projects as his legacy.

“As his carer for six years I was classed as unemployed and I haven’t heard from anyone in social services, I still have his wheelchair and other disability equipment – no one has been in touch.”

The 43-year-old said she cannot believe how badly she has been treated.

She said: “Carers get such a rubbish deal, they shouldn’t be classed as unemployed, when the person being cared for dies, the carer should get the support they need in return for all they have done, not be treated like second class citizens.

“The policy needs to be looked at and I should be entitled to it, but everything for me that was has now gone. People seem to forget, Elliott was my life and I am grieving but all they want is for me to get out and get a job.”

Mrs Brook writes micro poems about her life on Twitter, anyone who would like to follow her should visit @Forgottenbee.

The PM’s office did not respond to requests for a comment.

It Would Have Been Better If I Had Died

It would have been better if I had died

Then my children and I wouldn’t be swept aside

Ignored by all because we are young

Yet six years of caring for my husband was my only income.

It would have been better if I had died

As for the past six years I’ve been classed as unemployed

Despite giving up my career to take care of him

My family’s needs and means are taken on a whim.

It would have been better if I had died

As my 20 years of work would have counted with pride

Life insurance would have paid out and bereavement benefit received

Widowed parents allowance granted allowing time to grieve

It would have been better if I had died

Still the continuous fight although he’s no longer alive

Social Services don’t care and have shut the file

Yet there’s a young family here that need support for a while.

It would have been better if I had died

Now I’m expected to get a job that’s all that matters

Yet my career is long gone in unemployment statistic tatters.

It would have been better if I had died

Yet I sacrificed everything to take care of him for life

Caring’s such a selfless emotional physical ‘n’ mentally draining job

Which I know over the years I’ve saved a far bob.

It would have been better if I had died

My husband in a wheelchair would get more attention if he survived

If it wasn’t for the community around helping, caring and supporting me

I’d be a mess as the government’s shown me no respect as a hard working citizen of this country.