Care for the Carers joining with national charity Carers UK to back its campaign calling on the government to put in place a ‘recovery and respite plan’ for unpaid carers.
The plan outlines additional support for carers across a range of areas – including breaks, respite and care.
Although some may feel that the pandemic is over, many carers don’t feel that way, both the legacy of the pandemic, and worries about infection, are still present in carers’ lives.
Jennifer Twist, chief executive of Care for the Carers, said: “So many carers are not even aware that they are caring.
"They see it as ‘doing what anyone would in their position’, and don’t know that there is support available to them.
“The pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll on carers. While often rewarding, caring can also have a huge impact, leading to a decrease in mental and physical wellbeing, and increased isolation. This has been exacerbated in recent times.”
“This Carers Week was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all that carers do and raise awareness that we are here to help and they are not alone. Please do get in touch with us for information, support, or to connect with other carers.”
As part of the campaign they are asking for people to contact their MP and ask them to support the campaign to help ensure all carers get the support they need.
Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK on behalf of Carers Week charities, said: “Clearly, whilst society has opened up for many people, it’s a very different picture for significant numbers of carers."So many have sacrificed their physical and mental health caring for their loved ones over the last two years and as this report clearly shows, it is absolutely essential that carers get the support they need to stay well to be able to continue to care for their loved ones, that working carers are helped to stay in employment and that all carers can feel visible, valued and supported."
During the awareness week, which took place between Monday, June 6 and Sunday, June 12, it highlighted the vital role unpaid carers play.
This year’s focus was ‘making caring visible, valued and supported’.
Care for Carers and its partners celebrated and recognised the vital contribution made by the UK’s 10.58 million unpaid carers, over 69,000 in East Sussex, who look after a relative, friend or neighbour who couldn’t manage without their help.
Organisations and groups from across the county used the week to celebrate, recognise and raise awareness of carers locally.
A number of events were organised for carers including walk and talks, an Afternoon tea and cooking workshops.
On Thursday, June 9, Care for the Carers celebrated the opening of a brand new local centre to support all unpaid carers, from all age groups and communities in Uckfield and surrounding areas.
During the event 25 carers and 18 supporters joined the Mayor of Uckfield cllr Jackie Love, Care for the Carers chair of trustees, Dr Neil Churchill OBE, and chief executive Jennifer Twist at the opening day event celebrations.
Based at the Victoria Pavilion and co-located with Sussex Support Service, minutes from Uckfield high street, the centre will offer a diverse range of services to help local carers, including information and advice sessions, networking, activities, counselling, young carers clubs and much more.
Care for the Carers represents carers and raises awareness of caring, working with local communities, organisations and service providers to build a carer friendly county.
All its work is developed with carers, and in response to their expressed needs and reflects local and national strategy, legislation, research and best practice.
A new national report released during the week found that the proportion of unpaid carers providing significant care (more than 20 hours per week) has increased by 42 pre cent since October 2020, 4.87 million carers are worrying about the impact of caring on their physical and mental health, 2.86 million carers are worrying about the impact of not getting a break and 2.2 million carers are worrying about their ability to cope financially because they are caring.
In a survey conducted for the campaign, a massive 84 per cent of the general public agreed that the government should provide additional support for carers.
One in ten people in East Sussex care for someone, and Care for the Carers estimates that there are 69,241 unpaid carers in the county.
The charity has been supporting and representing unpaid carers in East Sussex since 1989.
Its team of staff and volunteers provides free practical and emotional advice – face to face, by telephone, or online.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction, or who needs extra help as they grow older. It isn’t someone who volunteers or is employed to provide support.
It is estimated that three out of five adults will become unpaid friend and family carers at some point in their lives.
And for the campaign, visit www.carersweek.org/