Two charities funded by North Yorkshire Council to help those who look after others in the county are using Carers Week to encourage more organisations and volunteers to get involved.
Carers Week runs from today (Monday, June 5) to spotlight the dedication of carers nationally, with their vital contribution well-recognised by North Yorkshire Council, which provides funding for the Carers Plus and Carers Resource organisations.
Both provide independent advice, information and support to carers, with Carers Plus covering the Scarborough, Ryedale and Hambleton and Richmondshire areas, while Carers Resource works in the Harrogate, Selby and Craven communities, with the council also providing funding to smaller organisations which offers carers a break and connect them to activities and support in their area.
All are vitally important because they strive to ensure those involved in looking after others are not overburdened by the task.
Carers Week is also being used as an opportunity to encourage more widespread help and support for carers.
This week, Carers Resource will be opening up its offices in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton to invite in those from other elements of the community, to see the services they provide and learn more about how they might be able to assist carers.
Those invited include politicians, community groups and health officials, which all may have ideas about how they could help support unpaid carers, across the age-range.
Carers Plus will also be working in other parts of the county to highlight issues around caring and the help available, with carers themselves invited to a host of events in communities across North Yorkshire to help with their own health and wellbeing.
For carers themselves, there is a range of social events and activity sessions, designed to help carers’ physical and mental wellbeing.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for health and adult services, Cllr Michael Harrison, said:
Carers are indispensable and one way we recognise that is by helping to fund the organisations which support them.
Many carers look after friends and relatives, but the volunteers who work for care organisations often do so without that personal connection, they do so for the good of their communities and that deserves recognition.
They help carers in many ways and we thank everyone who gives up their time, either as a direct carer, or support worker.
Their efforts contribute to our objective of allowing people to stay healthy, independent and connected to where they live.
One of the services which has become greatly appreciated by many carers is assistance from volunteers who give up their time to sit with those who need assistance, giving their regular carer the opportunity to take a break, for their own relaxation, wellbeing or to get tasks done away from the home.
Volunteers may also be involved in providing companionship and emotional support to carers who find themselves struggling to find opportunities for interaction in the community.
Ryedale Carers Support, which provides a carer’s break service, has launched a “flourishing friendships” initiative to attract new volunteers to become a “buddy” to someone with care needs. That allows their regular carer the opportunity to take a break.
North Yorkshire Council also offers a carer’s emergency card service, so they can carry details of the person who relies on them, should they fall ill or have an accident.
Full details of events during Carers Week, and the services available in the county, are available at https://www.carersresource.org/carers/carers-week-2023/ and https://www.carersplus.net/
The bond of childhood friendship proved unbreakable for former schoolmates Dennis and Hazel after their lives crossed once again in their 90s.
They met again at a Knaresborough luncheon club and found the friendship rekindled to the point where Dennis moved in to provide permanent care as Hazel’s dementia advanced.
He was helped by the Carers Time Off organisation, which works to ease the burden on those who support others by providing time for a break, in the Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon district.
Retired nurse Liz recognised the value of the group’s work, so volunteered her time and was matched to Dennis and Hazel.
She makes regular visits to allow Dennis the time to spend time away at a bridge club, a hobby which has been a long-held passion.
He said: “Having a lady to visit is so lovely for Hazel, they can chat and I have a ride out so I can go to my bridge.
“Liz is sensitive to Hazel’s needs, knowing when she might need to rest.”
There are also positives for the volunteers. Liz said: “Hazel is a fascinating lady who regales with witty, charming stories, full of wisdom and insight, having experienced many ups and downs in her life.”
The arrangement provides peace of mind for the wider family, with Dennis’s daughter, Christine, explaining: “Hazel says, well, we all do, that Elizabeth is a really kind, understanding and patient person, nothing is too much trouble for her.”
Now there is also a second volunteer in place, to ensure that even if Liz is away, Dennis and Hazel still get the support they value so much.