The theme of this year's Carers Week (7th-13th June 2021) was making caring visible and valued and we reached out to unpaid family and friend carers to let them know about the support we can provide them and organised activities, online and in person, to give carers a chance to socialise and have a break from caring.
Our main event was an online discussion session where a panel of representatives from health, social care and community-based services in Hertfordshire answered carers’ questions about services and provision as we come out of coronavirus restrictions. The panel consisted of Chris Badger, Director of Adult Care Services at Hertfordshire County Council and Beverley Flowers, Director of Transformation at Herts and West Essex NHS Integrated Care System. There were also representatives from services such as Age UK and Mind on it.
There was a varied programme of activities unpaid carers could join in with. These included:
• Guided walks at King’s Mead nature reserve in Ware and in St Albans;
• Meetings on Zoom for carers looking after someone aged 65 or older, who misuses drugs and alcohol, has a mental illness, or a learning disability;
• Three of our Carers Support Hubs that met online. People joining the Borehamwood meeting enjoyed a drawing activity and carers on the Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead session met one of the Hertfordshire County Councillors for their area Colette Wyatt-Lowe;
• A quiz night and poetry writing workshop; and
• A benefits information session, pamper event and art workshop, for parent carers of a child with special educational needs or disabilities.
We also had a celebration event on Zoom with supporters, funders, and carers, which featured photographs, pictures and poems, taken by carers who have participated in our workshops or are part of our Carers’ Camera Club. The presentation can be viewed via the link - pdf Carers' photos, pictures and poems presentation for Carers Week 2021 (4.34 MB) .
Michèle Stokes, our Chief Executive, thanked everyone involved in our Carers Week events and added: “It was good to connect with so many unpaid carers during Carers Week and let carers know that we are here for you. We can provide information and guidance to help you in your caring role and support you in keeping well and healthy.
We know there are many people who don’t think of themselves as carers, but are looking after a partner, parent or child, that is ill, disabled, elderly, or for another reason, who wouldn’t manage without them. If you support anyone unpaid, please connect with organisations like ours and let your GP practice know about your caring role. This is so you receive the support you are entitled to or need and to be visible and valued.”
Our Carers' Camera Club marked Carers Week 2021 with photographs that they have taken that reflect their experiences and activities during the coronavirus pandemic. They hope you enjoy them in the video, which is also available on our YouTube channel at this link - Carers' Camera Club photographs.