The invaluable work of the UK’s 6 million carers is highlighted during Carers Week, this year 10 – 16 June.
Most people who find themselves looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner do so without having prepared for it because either it has happened suddenly or has crept up on them. Accidents and illnesses mean that people near to the hurt or ill person take on an extra role from their normal relationship and become an unpaid carer as well.
Throughout the country these carers save the statutory services £119 billion but can find the role difficult, because so often it means that they are affected emotionally, with the distress caused, socially, because their caring interferes with friendships, and financially, when they may have to give up work or there are extra expenses involved. Most carers have little spare time or energy.
Each year Carers UK cooperates with other relevant charities for Carers Week, this year 10 – 16 June. In 2013 they are The Carers Trust, Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society and Parkinson’s UK, also supported by Independent Age, The Stroke Association and Carewell. It is sponsored by Sainsbury’s plc and Skills for Care.
Many famous celebrities with caring experiences support Carers Week. Lynda Bellingham has said, “Carers Week is a fantastic opportunity for the UK to come together to recognise the outstanding contribution that carers across the country make on a day to day basis. My sister and I cared for our mother when she had Alzheimers, and so I know first-hand the impact that caring can have on someone’s life.”
“That is why I’m supporting Carers Week because I believe that it is vital that help is made available, especially when you consider that every day 6,000 new people will take on the caring role for a loved one. Carers in this country do a fantastic job and we must come together to support them.”
An estimate of the number of carers in Mendip (from the 2012 census) is about 12,000 but many of them will not know that there is support for them. So often it is a crisis that activates the carer to seek help but it is much better if they have plans in place before this happens.
Those being cared for often have deteriorating conditions and carers themselves can get worn out with the extra work involved in looking after someone, often being on call 24 hours a day and night, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year for many years. Compass Carers is now the service that Somerset County Council and the NHS have commissioned to support carers.
Carers UK East Somerset
Carers UK East Somerset raise funds to support carers in crisis, or to contribute financially to access respite care for themselves. These funds are accessed through the statutory services or Compass Care.
The committee of Carers UK East Somerset also campaign among the corridors of power locally, as the national charity does in Westminster, to try to make sure that carers are supported effectively. They are represented on the Carers Partnership Board, a body of carers and other representatives, which has the role of overseeing services for carers in Somerset.
Carers UK East Somerset
Caroline Toll, Chairwoman (a former carer)
Telephone 01373 836 438