Make Caring Visible and support our county’s carers
By Sarah Wood | 8th June 2020
This Carers Week ( June 8-14), Gloucestershire County Council and the NHS want to recognise and raise awareness of the fantastic work carried out by informal carers across the county.
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 one 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.
The council and health service in the county are taking steps to address the concerns highlighted in the report, and strengthen the support they provide for carers.
This Carers Week, the council wants to raise awareness of the challenges carers in Gloucestershire face and make sure they are being supported.
It has 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 publicly thank carers in Gloucestershire for the work they do.
The council wants 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.
The council is 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 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."
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