Posted by: Admin | May 19, 2012

The Saturday Interview 19 – Melanie

To meet with Melanie is akin to being plugged into the mains: she is so full of life and vitality and “can-do” attitude that by the time I leave I feel as if I too can do anything! A self-confessed “social butterfly”, Melanie describes herself as a party person. Fun-loving and gregarious, she loves all kinds of music and is an avid festival-goer.

Delve deeper and it’s apparent that a core of steel holds up her carefree exterior. A hairdresser for over 30 years, Melanie has owned her own salon for more than 20 and is clearly a successful businesswoman. She’s also a Mum to teenagers, Elliott & Jemima, the eldest of whom needs lifelong, full-time care.

“I’m a full-time carer for my son,” she tells me, showing me his purpose built ground floor bedroom. “Now that he’s 17 he’s being moved over to adult services, so there’s a lot going on.”

As anyone who has had to liaise with social services on behalf of a loved one will know, dealing with “the system” can be a long and exhausting process.

“People often express surprise that I’m so upbeat,” Melanie tells me, “so many carers get so worn down.”

That’s why, in the future, Melanie plans to get involved with advocacy work, helping other carers to find a voice and to access the help they need. Having met her, I have no doubt that she could do great things in that role. In the meantime, I am left full of admiration by her determination to live life to the full, and not be bowed by the difficulties of caring for a teen with special needs. Having a close relationship with both her children makes it all worth while.

“My daughter came to Glastonbury with us last year and coped better with the sanitation (or lack of!) than I thought she would!” They’re off to Latitude this year: “the most middle class of festivals!” she says with a laugh.

And that’s the impression of Melanie with which I leave – someone full of energy, music and laughter.

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Responses

  1. […] Anyone who thinks that life – and people – slow down after 50 needs to spend some time with Melanie! Mother to two teenagers, one of whom needs fully time care, business owner and festival-goer, Melanie is a one-woman powerhouse. Find out more about how she makes 50 work for her tomorrow on project50 […]


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