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Almost 250 unpaid carers joined in a local charity’s online events throughout last week to celebrate national Carers Week.
Carers’ Resource said 200 of the participants were adults while 50 were young carers aged under 18. An unpaid carer is anyone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability.
The charity, which supports unpaid carers across the Bradford, Craven and Harrogate districts, was determined to celebrate the annual week-long celebration despite the challenges of not being able to host face-to-face events and awareness-raising activities.
Chief executive officer Chris Whiley said:
We had 22 events on YouTube, Facebook and Google Meet ranging from mindfulness to dancing and a quiz, and our young carers took part in virtual escape rooms and bingo. The feedback we have received has been incredibly positive.
We were conscious though that not everyone is online, so we worked hard to create offline activities too. We asked people to raise their favourite drink wherever they were at the start of Carers Week to honour carers, and we sent out craft packs to 20 people who couldn’t join an online session. We also delivered more than 100 bunches of flowers to adult carers, and 25 recipe packs to young carers for a Bake Off competition.
A carer from Bingley said:
A lovely lady knocked on my door with a beautiful bunch of flowers and said thank you for caring, and other kind words. It was so lovely to be appreciated, I felt overwhelmed and it made me cry to think someone had thought of me for that kind gesture. I work full time from home for one of our emergency services, and as a carer for autism, ADHD and multiple sclerosis in our household, life can be very hard and stressful in normal times let alone this current climate, so this came at a perfect time.
During the week, 18 staff and supporters of the organisation and their families took part in a challenge to complete 25k to mark the anniversary’s 25th anniversary year. They raised almost £2,000 collectively by walking, running or cycling 25k, while pupils from Skipton Academy baked and sold cakes.
The charity closed Carers Week on Sunday evening by posting a video of young carers thanking NHS workers.
Watch the video at:
Ms Whiley added:
The theme of national Carers Week was Making Carers Visible and we hope we have helped to achieve this aim. Carers are unseen and unsung more than ever during the coronavirus crisis. We have been delivering services throughout lockdown to carers who have needed us for a range of issues including information or advice, someone to talk to and help with forms. Our hospital support services and paid-for regulated care service Care@ Carers’ Resource have also been kept open.
During lockdown, the extended support networks of carers are no longer available and they are struggling to get any sort of break from caring. Some carers are juggling work or school work with 24/7 caring. Many are also struggling financially, with one reason being that Carer’s Allowance is too low and retired carers cannot even claim it.
Carers in Scotland are being given a one-off payment to help them through coronavirus and six-monthly Carer’s Allowance top-ups, but this is not the case in the rest of the UK. It’s time for unpaid carers to be treated with the respect they deserve.
To sponsor the Walk 25 challenge participants go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/walk25