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Support on offer for Carers’ Week

Published on Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Carers Week 2020 logo: Making Caring Visible

CARERS in Leicester can get telephone support, advice and information from a series of dedicated sessions being held to mark Carers’ Week – as well as a special ID card to help them identify themselves as carers.

Carers’ Week, organised by six national charities, is a countrywide awareness-raising week running from 8-14 June. Its theme is Making Carers Visible – highlighting that carers are often overlooked and undervalued for the vital work they do.

New figures released for Carers’ Week suggest an estimated 4.5million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.

In Leicester, figures from the 2011 census showed 30,780 carers lived in the city – but this was believed to be an under-estimation at the time, and is likely to have grown further due to coronavirus.

To help carers’ voices to be better heard, the Leicester Carers Support Service – which is commissioned by Leicester City Council and delivered by Age UK – has launched a carers’ ID card. This is something carers can carry and show to identify them as a carer, which can be useful to show to healthcare staff or other professionals. It can also provide reassurance to carers at the current time, as they can show it if they are unable to fully comply with the current coronavirus restrictions because of their caring role.

Carers can ring the support service helpline (number below) to get an ID card.

A series of virtual support sessions is also being held throughout Carers’ Week. On Wednesday, a dedicated support worker will be available on the Leicester Carers Support Service helpline – 0116 222 0538 - to answer questions about social care funding, accessing health and social care support, how to get a carer’s assessment and adaptations that are available for people with mobility problems. Later in the evening, the helpline will remain open until 7pm for advice on all aspects of caring.

On Thursday, carers can call the helpline to find out more about making time for themselves; and on Friday, advice on all aspects of caring is available.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on social care, said: “A carer is anyone - child or adult - who looks after a family member or friend, usually without being paid. They help someone who cannot cope without their support because they have a disability, illness, substance misuse or mental health needs, or someone who needs extra help as they grow older.

“It’s important that we make carers visible so that we can support them and recognise both the challenges they face and the enormous contribution they make to families and communities. This new ID card will help with that.

“This Carers’ Week is particularly important. Imagine how tough it is for our carers as they isolate themselves to shield some of our most vulnerable members of society from coronavirus. For new carers, we want to make sure they know there is support available for them. And most of all – we want to thank all our carers for the amazing job they are doing.”

Anthony Donovan, Executive Director of Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland, said: “This year it is more important than ever to support Carers’ Week and acknowledge the tremendous contribution that all unpaid carers make.

“Throughout the current covid-19 crisis, carers of all ages have played a crucial and invaluable role in supporting their family members and friends, whilst in some cases also dealing with their own health issues.

“Our Leicester Carers Support Service is committed to supporting carers throughout the City, by providing information and advice and ensuring that they remain visible. We believe that it is essential to reach out to carers to help them feel less isolated and to respond to their needs.”

In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, a Carers’ Strategy has been developed, helping to identify local carers and ensure they know where they can get local support. Read the strategy by clicking on Support for Carers here: www.leicester.gov.uk/adultsocialcare

The city council also commissions a support service from Barnardo’s for young carers. Find out more about it here: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/carefree

The Leicester Carers’ Support Service is on 0116 222 0538 or https://www.ageuk.org.uk/leics/

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