Call to make Carers more 'visible'

8 June 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council is marking this year’s National Carers Week by looking for ‘hidden’ carers. 

This year, because of Coronavirus, people across the borough are continuing to face new challenges and carers are under more pressure than ever. 
They may be taking on responsibility to care for relatives or friends who have a disability, mental or physical illness, a substance misuse issue or need extra help as they get older.
The Council wants to help more people identify as carers so they can access much-needed support.
Councillor Val Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Social Care said:

“Many people don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities.  They just see themselves as carrying out their everyday responsibilities towards family members and loved ones.  
“There may be spouses caring for a husband, wife or partner, adults who have parenting responsibilities but who also care for elderly relatives, parents or family members who care for a sick or disabled child or other family member, and young carers looking after a parent or helping to care for a sibling.”
“These people are carers, but they would probably just say that they are being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, or daughter, a son, a friend or a good neighbour.”
“It’s vital that we recognise the contribution carers make to families and local communities, workplaces and to society and that they get the support they need.” 
Cllr Armstrong went on to say: “Most carers are in the 50-65 age range, but this is far from the only group.  Carers come from all walks of life and all age groups and it’s especially important to remember that a proportion of every ethnic and minority group are carers. 
“We know that our community of carers is diverse, and that’s something we want to really celebrate, but our current records don’t necessarily reflect that.  Which is why we are urging more people to come forward and have their caring support needs assessed under the Care Act”. 
“There is support available for carers.  As a council we work with groups who support carers including Cheshire and Warrington Carers’ Trust.  They can provide a wide range of services from information, advice and guidance on benefits, financial matters and emergency funds to information on support groups and short breaks, free well-being sessions and holistic therapies.  If carers aren’t known to us, then we can’t give them information on services that are available to help support them and we want everyone to be aware of what they might be entitled to.”
“Above all we want carers to know that they are valued, and they are not alone.  There are many ways now that new technologies can help people who feel isolated.  People may not want, or be able to attend a support group, but find that technology can help them link up with others in a similar role so that they become part of a network providing practical and emotional support.”
The Council will soon be running a consultation on its Carers’ Strategy and is keen to engage with unpaid carers in the borough to talk about their experiences and how to improve the experience of people who undertake this crucial role in our society.  Information on the consultation will be published on the Council’s website. 

You can contact Cheshire and Warrington Carers Trust:

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