Help ‘Make Caring Visible’ and support our county’s carers
This Carers Week (8 -14 June), the county council and the NHS in Gloucestershire want to recognise and raise awareness of the fantastic work carried out by informal carers across Gloucestershire.
The theme this year is ‘Making Caring Visible’. There are 6.5 million carers in the UK and more than 63,000 in Gloucestershire. With 1 in 10 people having caring responsibilities, it’s likely that everyone knows someone who is an informal, unpaid carer, but may not be aware of it.
Carers will generally be looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older. This has a huge impact on their lives from relationships and health, to finances and work.
The vast majority of the time, the care provided by informal carers is in people’s homes and is largely invisible to the local community. Sadly, despite the huge contribution they make to keeping our most vulnerable people safe, three in four carers don't feel their caring role is understood and valued. A recent ‘Caring behind closed doors’ national report from Carers UK showed that carers are feeling the stresses related to their caring role more than ever as a result of Covid-19.
Together with our health partners, the council is taking steps to address the concerns highlighted in the report, and strengthening the support we provide for carers.
This Carers Week we want to raise awareness of the challenges carers face and make sure that we are supporting our carers in Gloucestershire in all ways possible at this time.
- We have produced a new ‘carer aware’ badge which will be distributed by Gloucestershire Carers Hub for local carers to wear with pride. It’s one way of making sure that the people and businesses carers come into contact with are aware of the caring responsibilities they hold and can offer support.
- Cllr Kathy Williams – cabinet member for adult social care delivery, Cllr Carole Allaway-Martin – cabinet member for adult social care commissioning, Margaret Willcox – executive director of adult social care and Kim Forey – director of integration, have issued an open letter to publically thank carers in Gloucestershire for the important work they do.
- We want all carers to register with Gloucestershire Carers Hub so they can access the wealth of support available to them. This includes the Carers Emergency Scheme which builds on personal contingency planning and can mean that extra emergency support is available for them if they need it.
- We’re asking local businesses to become carer aware. Many carers juggle their caring role with work. The Employers for Carers platform is a one stop shop of information for carers and employers, which includes practical ways in which carers can get support at work.
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Carers play a massive role in keeping our most vulnerable people safe and we are very grateful for all that they do. This week we want to say thank you to them, highlight the important role they play and make sure they are aware of the support available to them.
“We also want to encourage the wider community to be carer aware, so they feel less isolated and can benefit from greater understanding. We can all play a part in making caring more visible, whether it’s connecting with a family member or friend who is caring for someone, or taking time as an employer to understand the challenges faced by carers.”
“Many people do not recognise themselves as a carer. They identify as a ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘mother’, ‘father’ or ‘friend’, rather than understand they are carrying out a caring role over and above this. We want all people in Gloucestershire to help us identify carers so that all carers can access the support available.”
Kim Forey, Director of Integration at Gloucestershire County Council and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The aim of Carers’ Week is to raise awareness about the vital and valuable role carers play in society.
“However, it’s really important that paying tribute to their hard work becomes an ongoing exercise.
“It’s estimated that we have more than 63,000 informal carers in Gloucestershire now, so it’s essential that we value and support them.”