During Carers Week 2021 Healthwatch Hampshire is inviting health and care services, schools, employers and businesses across the community to recognise the vital contribution made by unpaid carers in the region.
In Hampshire, we have been speaking with carers and carer organisations and produced our report - Caring during Covid - about the experiences of carers during the pandemic, which you can read here.
As a result of our report, we also developed a new Carers Zone on our website which signposts carers to all the sources of information and support they might need to help them in their caring role.
We also developed an awareness campaign encouraging people to tell their GP if they have taken on a caring role, as GPs can offer extra help, support and flexibility if they know you are a carer.
We are also working on a number of other projects related to carers across Hampshire as well.
On behalf of the Carers Week charities, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic unpaid carers have played an essential role supporting older, disabled and seriously ill relatives and friends, doing so most of the year on their own behind closed doors. They have forgone breaks from caring and much of the support they would normally have relied on.
“Looking after someone can be a hugely rewarding experience, but it sometimes comes with difficulties, including getting the right support. This Carers Week I hope all parts of the community – family and friends, employers, businesses, schools, health and care services – do their bit to make caring visible and show it is valued.”
For Carers Week 2021 charity Carers UK is joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness to help raise awareness of caring around the country.
The six charities driving Carers Week 2021 are calling on individuals, services and organisations to do their part in Making Caring Visible and Valued – recognising the contribution made by carers and helping them get the practical, financial and emotional support they need to care for a loved one.
Hundreds of activities are taking place across the country during Carers Week and many people have Added Their Voice on the Carers Week website to make caring visible this year. To find out more about activities visit https://www.carersweek.org/
If you are a carer and want to share your experiences of accessing health and social care services in Hampshire then you can get in touch with us at Healthwatch Hampshire.
Free PPE for unpaid carers
It is important that infection prevention and control measures continue to be followed. Currently, it is recommended that unpaid carers not living with the person they care for wear PPE when delivering care.
These unpaid carers are eligible to receive free COVID-19 PPE through local authorities (LAs) and local resilience forums (LRFs) until the end of March 2022. Additionally, LAs/ LRFs may use discretion to provide PPE to co-resident unpaid carers if appropriate.
If you are aware of unpaid carers who would benefit from this offer, please let them know that they can contact their LA/ LRF using these contact details.