Season’s Greetings and thanks to all Carers in Hertfordshire staff, volunteers and supporters. On behalf of the charity, I want to wish unpaid carers all the best this festive period and remind them there is support available if they need it.
We deliver free services to people providing care to someone, unpaid, due to a disability, physical or mental illness, age or substance misuse. Support includes advice and information, learning opportunities, help to have a break from caring, support to have a voice and activities to meet up with other carers. This support can mean carers feel less isolated and stressed and can boost their confidence, health and wellbeing.
Currently, there are just over 29,600 unpaid carers – children and adults – registered with us, but many more people in the county are hidden carers. With continued fundraising and volunteering support, we can carry on reaching carers so they are aware of the help and services they are entitled to.
It’s been a busy year and I’d like to reflect on some of our achievements. We have:
• Set up Carer Support Hubs in Borehamwood and Harpenden, bringing our total to 15. Another will start meeting in Royston in the New Year;
• Launched a young carers mobile app, developed with young carers, East and North Herts NHS Trust, and students at North Herts College; and
• Had some of our partnership work with the NHS recognised through a national award.
In 2019, highlights will include our next Young Carers Conference during February half-term, doing more to support carers of someone with a physical disability or long-term illness to have a voice, and improving our website.
We appreciate some carers find the holiday season more difficult than other times of the year, for reasons such as limited services, tight budgets and family tensions. Our Carer Support Advisors are available to talk to and are working until 4pm on Friday 21st December and during office hours on December 27th, 28th & 31st. If you need help outside of these times some useful contacts are:
• Hertfordshire County Council Adult Care Services is 0300 123 4042 and for Children’s Services 0300 123 4043;
• Hertfordshire NightLight Crisis Service (for mental health crisis) is available to contact throughout the festive break. The Helpline number is 01923 256391 and will be open from 7pm to 11pm on December 25th, 26th, 27th and January 1st, 2nd and 3rd and as usual on December 24th and 28th - 31st (9pm - 1am); and
• The Carers UK Forum, an online community where you can ask a question, let off steam or seek advice. To learn more or register for free visit www.carersuk.org/forum