This week it’s Carers Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of caring, and highlight the challenges carers face.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to a family member or friend who has a disability, long-term illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older. Many people do not recognise themselves as a carer, it’s just something you do, because you want to, or you have no choice.
There’s 6.5 million carers in the UK looking after a parent, partner, child or friend; that’s one in every eight adults. In the 2011 census there were 17,325 carers in Bournemouth, but we know there are probably more and the number will have risen.
Most carers are of working age, but many reduce their hours or leave work altogether, as it can be a struggle to manage working and caring. Most workplaces will have someone who is juggling work and caring, but many working carers do not mention this to their colleagues, for a whole variety of reasons. 78% of carers say they feel more stressed because of their caring role.
If you have an inkling this might be you, there is someone to talk to and there is support available to help you at our Carers Centre in Westbourne. We have a Carers Information Service you can join, to find out what may help you. You can also find out about a range of local events for carers and receive a carers discount card get money off local services and suppliers.
The Carers Support Service (CRISP) is a small team, but several of them know just what it is like to hold down a job whilst caring for someone else. How physically and emotionally draining it can be, although you would not have it any other way.
The Government is keen to support carers to stay in work, and are looking at ways employers can introduce more carer friendly policies, including additional paid carers leave, which some organisations already have. By joining the Carers Information Service you will hear if there are any changes in the law that may help you.
To support this year’s Carers Week we have made a pledge to reach out to hidden carers with information and support to help them to look after their own health and wellbeing whilst caring, and to help others by spreading the word about caring. We also pledge to continue to support carers in Bournemouth and Poole, providing support to help carers in their caring role.
What will you do to recognise, support and celebrate carers this Carers Week? Please get involved and pledge your support for carers.
Carers Joint Commissioning Manager for Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole