Children who care for a sick parent could be about to lose a charity that has provided counselling in Lewisham for more than 30 years.

Carers Lewisham, based in Forest Hill, will soon launch an emergency fundraising appeal in a desperate attempt to stay open.

The charity helps child carers as young as eight and offers advice and support for unpaid adult volunteers looking to get back into work.

Cathy Collymore, a support officer for 20 years, said: "The news that we may not be able to provide counselling to carers in the future came as a complete shock to everyone here.

"We are distressed and upset to have to turn to our community in the midst of a crisis for our charity.

"But if we don’t manage to raise the money we need, carers in Lewisham using our counselling service will lose what is often their only source of support."

She added: "Carers often feel lonely and isolated. We understand the anger, frustration and upset that a life of caring can often lead to. We are here to help them realise that caring can be just a part of their live."

Sybil Carey uses the service after feeling "cheated out of a life" of retirement because of her husband’s dementia diagnosis.

She said: "I felt bereaved and isolated. Carers Lewisham has been a rock, helped me to keep my sanity and give me perspective.

"Losing the counselling service will devastate a lot of carers. I am now caring for my husband happily and feel reassured that the service is there if I need it."

The charity currently supports 2,500 carers in Lewisham. 

Chairwoman Val Fulcher said it was a "highly distressing situation" before asking for support.

"We are doing all we can to save our counselling service," she said.

"Even our new Interim CEO will be joining our amazing group of volunteers over December and January to help solve this problem, as we can’t afford to pay him.

"I urge the local community to support this urgent appeal and help preserve this lifeline for local carers."

You can back the campaign by phoning 0208 699 8686 or by visiting