From 9 to 15 June, organisations UK-wide will be doing their bit to recognise the incredible work that the UK’s 6.5m unpaid carers carry out every single day. Carers Week manager Helen Clarke stopped by to tell us why this week of
awareness-raising, campaigning and celebration is so important.
What’s the aim of Carers Week?
Carers Week exists to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for – rather ambitious aims! It’s about raising the profile of carers and caring. There’s a chance to talk about how we’d like to see things improve with national and local policy and decision makers. It is a real chance to celebrate and say thank you for the amazing contribution that carers make every single day.
What sort of events take place during Carers Week?
Last year, about 12,000 events took place right across the UK. About half of them will be information stands in GP practices, town centres, shopping centres and Sainsbury’s supermarkets. There are also social activities, like coffee
mornings, afternoon teas and day trips,and there might also be opportunities to learn new skills or learn about different types of support through conferences or workshops. We know about the health impact of caring – stress, anxiety, depression. The chance to take some time out and get together with other carers can make a real difference for some people.
This year’s Carers Week is a bit different – you launched Carers Week Quest back in February. What’s that about?
We really wanted to tackle the challenge of people identifying themselves as carers and finding out about the support and services that are available. The real driving force behind the Quest is about coming together. If you feel that someone you know is in a caring role, signpost them to some support that might help them or the person they care for. Even if it’s just getting some really useful advice or information to make you aware of financial support or practical support, it’s something that can help carers when it can feel like you’re on your own or exhausted.
Why do you feel that Carers Week is important?
It’s a time of the year when a wide rangeof people can get together and raise awareness of something that isn’t really talked about. Caring happens in people’s homes, within families, and that can be quite a private thing. It’s really about opening that up and coming together to recognise what it’s like to be a carer and the impact it can have on your life. It’s a real chance to raise awareness of the support and services that are out there. Certainly with our work with Sainsbury’s, you might go in for a bottle of milk but come out with a leaflet on a local support group you never knew about and you’ve been caring for your partner for years. Little things that happen during Carers Week can make a huge difference
Enable Magazine, May/June 2014