Celebrating Carers Week

This article was written by Damian and published in the Herald group of papers on the 11th June:

 

"Every year we have Carers Week but this year that takes on a much bigger meaning. It’s a reminder both of the extraordinary contribution of carers in these extraordinary times – but also of their extraordinary work in ordinary times.

There are one and half million people working in social care in England; in care homes, home care, day services, respite centres and many other forms of support. This is in addition to the numerous voluntary sector-led initiatives, and which together work across 38,000 different settings.

The disparate nature of the sector has undoubtedly presented challenges during the pandemic, but the need to create a greater sense of unity across the sector has and will become increasingly important. This move has been supported by the development of a single CARE brand, announced by the Health Secretary back in April, and the Department of Health and Social Care is now working on guidance on how the brand can be used by providers, and how best to support the use of a badge and other material such as a website and an app.

This will give much-deserved recognition to the social care workforce, which continues to work under pressure in the very difficult environment demanded by the virus. Here in Hampshire, with a social care workforce of 37,000, there is clear recognition of the opportunity to increase integration and collaboration across all health partners locally. 

And of course, there are also millions of unpaid carers, often looking after close family members, some of which probably don’t even recognise themselves as carers. New figures released for Carers Week show an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the pandemic, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers believes there are more than 130,000 people in Hampshire providing informal care for others.

Recognising when you are a carer is an important step towards finding support and accessing the services that are there to help. The Hampshire Carers’ Support and Dementia Advisor Service is provided by Andover Mind and supports any carer aged 18 or over, regardless of the needs of the person they care for. There is also the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire, the Hampshire Young Carers Alliance for those under 18, and a wealth of support and available on the Connect to Support Hampshire website.

Many of these are operated on a voluntary basis, and with Volunteer’s Week having just passed, their efforts were once again acknowledged and celebrated.

The public response to the call for people to join the NHS Volunteer Responders was truly overwhelming, and it is fitting that from this week the group will extend their support to health and social care workers across the country, helping them to protect those they care for by making fewer journeys and coming into contact with fewer people so they can focus on and continue their vital work.

I often talk about the amazing body of volunteers here in East Hampshire, and I continue to be humbled by their passion, creativity and vigour. Whether it is in support of environmental initiatives, helping people with disabilities to find work or develop new skills, providing support for those living with dementia and their carers, helping families cope with the demands of young children, supporting young adults through difficult times, or helping with end of life care, East Hampshire boasts a bounty of people willing to help others.

Every year we have Carers Week but this year that takes on a much bigger meaning. It’s a reminder both of the extraordinary contribution of carers in these extraordinary times – but also of their extraordinary work in ordinary times.

There are one and half million people working in social care in England; in care homes, home care, day services, respite centres and many other forms of support. This is in addition to the numerous voluntary sector-led initiatives, and which together work across 38,000 different settings.

The disparate nature of the sector has undoubtedly presented challenges during the pandemic, but the need to create a greater sense of unity across the sector has and will become increasingly important. This move has been supported by the development of a single CARE brand, announced by the Health Secretary back in April, and the Department of Health and Social Care is now working on guidance on how the brand can be used by providers, and how best to support the use of a badge and other material such as a website and an app.

This will give much-deserved recognition to the social care workforce, which continues to work under pressure in the very difficult environment demanded by the virus. Here in Hampshire, with a social care workforce of 37,000, there is clear recognition of the opportunity to increase integration and collaboration across all health partners locally. 

And of course, there are also millions of unpaid carers, often looking after close family members, some of which probably don’t even recognise themselves as carers. New figures released for Carers Week show an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the pandemic, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers believes there are more than 130,000 people in Hampshire providing informal care for others.

Recognising when you are a carer is an important step towards finding support and accessing the services that are there to help. The Hampshire Carers’ Support and Dementia Advisor Service is provided by Andover Mind and supports any carer aged 18 or over, regardless of the needs of the person they care for. There is also the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire, the Hampshire Young Carers Alliance for those under 18, and a wealth of support and available on the Connect to Support Hampshire website.

Many of these are operated on a voluntary basis, and with Volunteer’s Week having just passed, their efforts were once again acknowledged and celebrated.

The public response to the call for people to join the NHS Volunteer Responders was truly overwhelming, and it is fitting that from this week the group will extend their support to health and social care workers across the country, helping them to protect those they care for by making fewer journeys and coming into contact with fewer people so they can focus on and continue their vital work.

I often talk about the amazing body of volunteers here in East Hampshire, and I continue to be humbled by their passion, creativity and vigour. Whether it is in support of environmental initiatives, helping people with disabilities to find work or develop new skills, providing support for those living with dementia and their carers, helping families cope with the demands of young children, supporting young adults through difficult times, or helping with end of life care, East Hampshire boasts a bounty of people willing to help others."