Carers Week 2020: Partnership pays tribute to 260,000 unpaid carers

Carers Week Logo 2020West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) is proud to be supporting Carers Week 2020 (8-15 June) to raise awareness of the importance of unpaid carers living across the area in Bradford district and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

The annual event aims to highlight the challenges unpaid carers face, whilst recognising the contribution they make to families and communities across the UK.  The theme of this year’s special week is about helping ‘Make Caring Visible’. This is particularly important given that people are taking on more caring responsibilities as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

A report produced by Carers UK (‘Caring Behind Closed Doors’) found that 70% of carers are now providing more care and feeling even more isolated.

There are an estimated 260,000 unpaid carers living in West Yorkshire and Harrogate and among this figure are many children and young people who care for parents with long-term health conditions. This number is expected to rise.  

Many don’t necessarily identify with the word ‘carer’ and, as a result, feel invisible and unaware of the support that is available for them.

Caring without the right information and support can impact on all aspects of a carer’s life, from relationships and health to finances and work. Knowing about and being able to access the necessary information, training and support is crucial for carers to be able to take care of their own wellbeing – as well as that of the person they look after, especially in these uncertain times.

Karen Jackson and Richard Parry are co-chairs of WY&H HCP Carers Programme Board. Karen, who is also CEO for Locala Community Partnership said:  ‘Reaching out to carers has never been more important. We know from speaking to local organisations across WY&H and from national surveys that the impact of covid-19 has been significant. Developing information, for example, ‘My Coronavirus/Covid-19 'Plan B' helps carers think about the different ways and people that can help them in an emergency. If they look after someone who couldn’t manage without their support, it’s crucial they know where to turn for help’.

Richard, who is also the Strategic Director for Health and Care at Kirklees Council, said: ‘Carers Week is real opportunity to help carers feel more visible and most importantly let them know that services are still here to help them. The impact on carers has been significant and, for many people, a particularly anxious time.  Support for carers remains available and we would encourage people to contact their local carers organisation or local council…..we are here to help’. 

WY&H HCP and local specialist carer organisations will use the week as an opportunity to actively support unpaid carers to let them know that local support is still here for them.  Many carers balancing work and care find it hard. Statistics show that 81% of working carers report high levels of stress, and 50% are planning on leaving their job within the next 12 months (Carers UK). During ‘Carers Week’, WY&H HCP will also continue to promote the Working Carers Passport throughout the week.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for WY&H HCP said:  ‘Without unpaid carers we would not have a health and care system. Sharing good practice and reducing any unnecessary stress for carers is a priority to us all. As we continue to encourage people to ‘Look out for their neighbours’ we would echo this sentiment now more than ever and ask people to show their support to carers online, within their own communities and networks’.

Local carer organisations are coordinating a number of different virtual events to support the physical and mental health of unpaid carers. Carers Count, based in Kirklees, have virtual wellness sessions surrounding ‘building resilience’ and ‘Caring for someone with Memory Deterioration’, information about your carers rights, along with their mental health forum, support for young carers, and Dementia Hub.

Carers Leeds are asking carers to make something that shows their experience of caring during lockdown. This could be a video showing a part of their day, a poem to reflect how they are feeling, or an image (photo, painting etc.). These will be shared throughout the week. They are also hosting a virtual round table discussion with representatives from Leeds Employers’ Forum to share lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis and discuss new ways of working to support working carers.

Carers Resource, covering Bradford, Craven and Airedale, along with North Yorkshire are asking people to show their appreciation to unpaid carers by raising a glass at 12noon, Monday 8 June and upload a photograph to twitter using #RaiseAGlass. They are hosting a number of virtual activities throughout the week, and at the other end of the phone for anyone not online.  

Making Space, covering Calderdale and Bradford, are hosting afternoon tea and quizzes to support the mental health of unpaid carers and Carers Wakefield are taking to social media to engage with and share content to support carers.

To see the event lists in full, please see below:

BRADFORD/NORTH YORKS:

Carers Resource: https://www.carersresource.org/carers-week/  

LEEDS:

Carers Leeds: www.carersleeds.org.uk/events/

WAKEFIELD:

Carers Wakefield:   https://www.carerswakefield.org.uk/

CALDERDALE:

Calderdale Carers:  www.calderdale-carers.co.uk/

KIRKLEES:

Carers Count: https://carerscount.org.uk/calendar.php

To find out more about WY&H HCP Carers Programme visit www.wyhpartnership.co.uk

Other activities for the week include:

Carers Leeds, The Leeds Employers Forum presents: One Step Ahead where carers can take part in a virtual round table discussion with representatives from British Gas, Yorkshire Building Society, Cafcass, St Gemma's and others, to share lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis and discuss new ways of working. People are asked to register online (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leeds-employers-forum-presents-one-step-ahead-tickets-95594795607)

Tide (together in dementia everyday) are hosting a workshop to help carers look at their emotional wellbeing and give them key practical tools which they can implement in everyday life. Visit the Facebook event for full details (https://www.facebook.com/events/245346693361195/https://www.tide.uk.net/tide-online-learning-sessions/)

 

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health & Care Partnership is hosted by NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group.
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