It’s Carers Week (6th – 12th June 2022) and anyone providing unpaid care to someone due to an illness, disability, frailty or addiction, is reminded that there is support for them. They don’t have to care alone!
Our charity provides services for children and adult carers in Hertfordshire and bereaved carers and we work to ensure unpaid family and friend carers are visible, valued and supported – the focus of Carers Week this year.
We provide information, guidance, workshops and more to carers - face to face, over the phone and online. We work alongside Hertfordshire County Council and NHS services in the county, which fund some of our services, to connect carers with each other and the help they need or are entitled to.
Michèle Stokes, our Chief Executive, said: “Carers Week provides an opportunity to recognise unpaid carers and highlight the support they need and the challenges they face. We are keen that unpaid carers feel confident in re-engaging with face to face services or meeting up with friends or family if they haven’t done so since coronavirus restrictions eased. Carers Week events offer a perfect chance to re-connect. We want to reassure carers anxious about infection control that we have measures in place to keep people safe. We can also signpost carers to services if the ones they or the person they look after have changed or closed or they don’t know what is available.”
Looking ahead we will continue to develop our services and offer opportunities to bring carers and bereaved carers together. We are launching a Carers’ Reading Group and our two groups for bereaved carers will restart in September 2022.
We are also supporting national charity Carers UK new campaign calling on the government to publish a Recovery and Respite Plan outlining additional support for unpaid carers following the pressures they’ve faced during the pandemic. You can learn more and get a letter to send to your MP at Ask your MP to support Carers Week (www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/campaigns/carers-week)
More people have taken on new or increased caring responsibilities over the last two years. The number of carers registered with Carers in Hertfordshire at the end of March 2022 was almost 37,300 – up by around 5,250 carers from the end of March 2020.
Among the carers we’ve continued to support during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and this year is Clive, who has been a carer to his wife since 2015 as she has MS. He said: “I appreciated the online art, cooking and other activities Carers in Hertfordshire held during the pandemic and have been to some face to face events this year. They provide me with an opportunity to do something unrelated to caring and to meet other carers.”
You can also find out more about the support Hertfordshire County Council provides to unpaid carers at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/carers
Councillor Tony Kingsbury, Executive Member for Adult Care, Health & Wellbeing Committee at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “One of our key priorities is for our residents to live healthy and fulfilling lives. As such we are committed to supporting family and friend carers, and we recognise the vital role they undertake for so many individuals across the county.
We are celebrating carers in this national week of recognition, but more than that, this year we will spend more than £2.3million to ensure that unpaid carers have access to the support they need in their local community.
We recognise that more can be achieved by working together, which is why we work in partnership with local charities, such as Carers in Hertfordshire, who we fund to deliver a range of services to support and advice for the carers in Hertfordshire. Please reach out if you are a carer for family or a friend, we thank you and want to support you.”