Local charity Carers in Bedfordshire is celebrating and recognising the vital contribution unpaid family carers make to the county during Carers Week.
Carers Week (7 to 13 June 2021) is a national annual awareness campaign. This year’s theme is to ‘make caring visible and valued.’
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for their friend or family member who due to illness, disability, mental health problems or an addiction, cannot cope without their support, or need extra help as they grow older. A carer is also a parent looking after a child with special educational needs.
Carers in Bedfordshire ceo, Chris Stelling, said:
“This year, more than any, carers need to be made visible and valued. They are the unsung heroes who behind closed doors throughout the COVID pandemic have played an essential role supporting their relatives and friends.
“They have forgone breaks from caring and much of the support they would normally have relied on. This is why we’re supporting Carers UK’s campaign to urge the Government to urgently increase funding for carers’ breaks.
“As restrictions ease it is also vital that we acknowledge the enormous contribution they continue to make day in day out. Looking after someone is sometimes difficult and carers need to get the right support.
“That’s where we step in to provide essential health and wellbeing support, advice and information. There are an estimated 40,000 carers across Bedfordshire and whilst we support many in their caring journey, we know there are thousands we are yet to reach.
“Many carers do not see themselves as carers, because they are just doing what they can for a relative or friend. But if that person couldn’t cope without your support, you are a carer and we encourage you to register with us so you too can be supported, visible and valued.”
Events and activities to mark the week
Carers in Bedfordshire is bringing Carers Week to life by running a series of events and activities, including:
- A professionals’ conference (10 and 11 June) for organisations to help identify and support carers they are in contact with or who may be colleagues.
- Carers of all ages have been invited to enter a photography competition with an image to represent ‘My Caring Role.’ Photos of the entries will be shared throughout the week across social media and the charity’s website. Keens Shay Keens Ltd, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers (KSK), based in Bedford, have sponsored the competition and is supplying the prizes.
- The charity is sending a well-deserved bunch of Bloom & Wild flowers to 10 carers nominated by family and friends, for the valuable role they carry out. Emmott Snell Solicitors, also based in Bedford, is sponsoring the flowers.
- A Neon Run has been organised where carers can run any distance in their brightest clothes to ‘make caring visible’ during Carers Week and help raise valuable funds.
- Walks for carers will take place in Bedford Park on 10 June.
- There are many events for carers on Zoom from sharing tours of their gardens, to a cupcake competition. A reminiscence session called School Days, to joining East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) for support for carers looking after those with a mental health condition.
- Throughout the week on social media Carers in Bedfordshire will be highlighting what makes someone a carer, who they are, what they go through and what support is out there.
- It will also be supporting Carers UK’s campaign to shine a spotlight on the lack of breaks that carers have been able to take in the past year, and the worrying impact this is having on their health and wellbeing, as well as their ability to work and live a meaningful life beyond caring. The charity is calling on the Government to urgently increase funding for carers’ breaks, so all carers providing significant hours of care can take a break.
For further information about Carers Week, or to sign up for support, visit Carers in Bedfordshire and follow hashtag #CarersWeek on social media.