Alison and her father, Sandy.

Alison and her father, Sandy.

Caring

In 2013 I became a carer for my father upon the sudden death of my mother. My father is living with the effects of traumatic brain injury, stroke and dementia.

Becoming a carer has been a tough journey, but an unexpectedly rewarding one too. It has taught me a lot about what really matters and has significantly altered the way I look at life. It’s also made me passionate about the way we care for the most vulnerable in our society and the way we support (or often fail to support) those who do the caring.

I volunteer with the Aberdeenshire Carers Support Service and with Carers UK. I am also a member of Headway (the UK Brain Injuries Association) and active on Twitter, building my connections with carers and carer organisations across the world.

Writing

I’ve had what can best be described as a varied career, including work as a town planner, tour guide, interior design assistant, careers counsellor and Christmas tree pruner.

Throughout this diverse employment written and verbal communication skills have been a common theme: talking, listening, interviewing and writing. Of all these skills, writing is certainly my favourite.  When I considered ways in which I could raise awareness about caring, it was to writing that I turned. Initially I wrote my own blog and this has developed into writing guest blog posts and articles for other organisations.

I’m keen to develop my writing and am currently studying a distance learning Freelance Features Writing course with the London School of Journalism.

Nature

Wood Anemone. Image: Pixabay

Wood Anemone. Image: Pixabay

The Dee river valley is rich in it’s landscapes and it’s flora and fauna, but it’s important not to take that rich diversity for granted. In my role as a Flora Guardian volunteer with the charity Plantlife Scotland, I take part in the monitoring of rare plants in the Cairngorms. I also help out with public events to raise awareness of this important habitat and the flora that live there.