Letter to the Editor from Chris Whiley, Carers’ Resource

28 December 2020

The end of the year is a natural time for all of us to reflect on achievements and challenges and make plans for the year to come. It is no different at Carers’ Resource.

It has been a year to remember – it has been busy and not without its challenges. At Carers’ Resource, we had big ideas and extensive plans to celebrate our 25th Anniversary in 2020. For 25 years, we have been responding to the need to support unpaid carers and we wanted to be able to celebrate this, alongside those that we have had been supporting over the years. Due to the global pandemic, many things this year have been cancelled or postponed and our plans for afternoon teas, challenges, walks, clubs, street parties and tea dances were all put on hold.

As an organisation, throughout the year we have focused on new ways of working to ensure that we were still able to help the thousands of carers that need us across Bradford, Craven and Harrogate. We recognised that carers needed our support as lockdown took its toll. Offering someone to talk to, accessing information around benefit entitlements and work related queries for carers are all things that we were able to help with over the course of the pandemic. We are delivering group support sessions online to ensure that we are still providing information, signposting and enabling interactive sessions for those who need it.

Our Care@ teams continue to deliver personal care in clients’ homes and during lockdown went above and beyond for clients who weren’t able to see family members and friends. Our online group sessions have covered topics such as digital confidence, selfcare, wellbeing and young carers have enjoyed imaginative online craft and baking sessions. We hope that we can take lessons learned from our experiences in 2020 to enable us to deliver flexible support for carers going forward.

In recent months, we have continued our face to face meetings wherever it has been safe to do so. Many carers have commented that they have enjoyed the online sessions, giving them the flexibility to be part of the session whilst still at home with the person they are caring for.

I’m proud of the way that our teams have adapted to deliver support during 2020. Our staff have been creative, flexible, caring and worked with determination and vigour. As we enter another chapter, we are still here to help unpaid carers. There may be people new to caring due to the pandemic – please make contact with us. Carers can call our freephone advice line 0808 501 5939 or self-refer using the form on our website. I want to urge unpaid carers to contact us for information, advice or general support at any time. My message is – please don’t struggle alone.

I would also like to thank those who support, volunteer and fundraise for us, and on behalf of Carers’ Resource, I want to say thank you for everything you have done for us in 2020.

With best wishes for a healthy and peaceful New Year.

Chris Whiley

Chief Executive, Carers’ Resource

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