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Norfolk charity founder Sallie’s story of faith 

Sallie Boyd, founder of Norfolk-based young carers charity Connects & Co suffered a massive stroke in 2021, yet continues to pray for and care about the families supported by the charity.

Helen Baldry reports

“I’m a fast lane person” says Sallie Boyd, founder of Connects & Co, a Norfolk charity that supports young carers and their families. Sallie and her team regularly has contact with 150 clients offering support to children who care for family members who are unwell. However Sallie’s fast-paced activities have been curtailed and she is largely bed-bound due to suffering a massive stroke two years ago. Sallie is enormously frustrated by this, but it hasn’t dampened her passion or commitment to the families Connects & Co supports. Sallie said, “I think about them. I worry about them. I love them. And I will be back with them.”

The Connects and Co team, which includes Sallie’s daughters Connie, Faith and Honor, continued to work throughout the covid pandemic, adapting their provision to accommodate zoom sessions, phone support and doorstep counselling. While they couldn’t run groups, the team rang every family once a week. They also delivered food parcels provided by local supermarkets and sorted at a venue in Dereham. Sallie delivered these in her beloved land rover, stacked up to the roof with provisions. Sallie said, “I was never in. I was always out charging around. I took my young people to Starbucks to get a hot chocolate and a biscuit and talk together. I’d be with them for an hour or two.  A few families like dog walking so I’d take them on a walk.” 

There is no driving or dog walks for Sallie now. In August 2021 Sallie suffered a massive stroke. There was no warning and she was in hospital for five and a half months. She said she nearly died twice.

She sees the stroke as a spiritual attack, yet she is determined to keep going. She said, “These lives that God puts in our paths are so important to him. Prayer is powerful and I see changes in these young people’s lives. The enemy is not having his way.”

Sallie views her role as a great privilege. She is in awe of the responsibilities the young carers have to take on, such as getting their parents up, feeding, dressing them, administering medication and getting themselves and their siblings to school.

“God’s given me such a love for all the young people. It’s so powerful.”

Some of the young carers and their families find every day a struggle. They turn to Sallie for help, and she in turn turns to God. She said, “I’ve got a bigger boss I can go to.” Sallie describes how God whispers in her ear to give her the words to say or places to signpost people for help.

Sallie talks about the highs and lows of working with young carers and their families. During lockdown her daughters arranged an online session with mobile petting zoo ‘Berts Amazing Animals’. Sallie describes seeing hedgehogs, snakes and rabbits pop up on screens, then all the families started sharing their own pets ‘that was such fun!’ After lockdown they enjoyed a ‘real life’ visit from Bert. A low point was sitting in the hospital car park with the mother of a young carer who was regularly self harming and had attempted suicide. Sallie has the deepest respect for people who allow her into their lives to offer support and love, and she takes this role very seriously.

It is clear that Sallie views all the people she supports as her extended family, and they relate to her as another mum. She says this is a glimpse of what God is feeling for his children and is what spurs her on through her own challenging circumstances. 

Connects & Co welcomes more volunteers to help run groups, and accepts donations towards their work.www.connectsandco.co.uk 

Pictured: Sallie with her daughter Connie before the stroke


Helen Baldry, 28/06/2023

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