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Sutton Council, Sutton Carers Centre, NHS South West London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust will be joining charities and organisations across the nation to celebrate Carers Week.
This year the focus will be on Making Caring Visible and Valued. With many unpaid carers facing challenges, partners across Sutton want to raise awareness of carers’ roles and the contributions they make to their families and the community. Many people don’t identify themselves as carers and so the week is an opportunity for them to realise their role and potentially access support and services available both locally and nationally.
The past year has been particularly challenging for carers and their families, with people finding it challenging to meet their support networks while continuing to care for their family and friends. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation from their community, making it imperative that carers have information about services. Carers need to know that they are valued for the contributions they have made during a difficult period.
In the UK, there are an estimated 13.6 million people who are carers - looking after friends or family members who have a disability, mental or physical illness, or are needing additional support as they grow older. Every day another 6,000 people in the UK become carers. In Sutton, it is estimated that there are 21,000 carers and the partnership recognises the huge contribution they continue to make to their families and the wider community.
Nikki Knowles, a local carer said:
‘Caring takes a lot out of you and you have to care for yourself as well as someone else. Support is invaluable as you can feel lonely and isolated. You need to learn skills to put you in a better place, to help you care for someone and make it a better experience for all. Mental health is paramount for all concerned - for good relationships with agencies and organisations, the person you care for, our wider families and the community. ‘
Rachel Philips a young local carer said:
‘During the pandemic, Sutton Carers Centre has offered me a lot of support through hard times which I am forever grateful for. Helping me get my COVID-19 vaccination quickly, made me feel more safe around the people I care for. Going to peer support every other Wednesday has helped me meet other young carers, but also helped me to decide to go travelling, which I’ve always wanted to do, as well as study the subjects I love at University. I now know that the people I care for will be well supported whilst I take these next steps in life.’
Rachael MacLeod, Chief Executive of Sutton Carers Centre, said:
‘We are humbled by carers in Sutton, people who have sacrificed so much to care for their family members and friends whilst trying to stay healthy and well, themselves. National Carers Week is a call to action, and we hope everyone will do what they can to make sure that unpaid carers, of all ages, are visible and valued - in your organisation or in your community.
‘We will be working harder than ever, with many valued partners, to ensure that carers' contributions are not only celebrated, but that they do not feel alone and forgotten as we emerge from the pandemic, getting the support that they need and deserve.’
Councillor Marian James, Chair of the People Committee at Sutton Council, said:
‘As a Council, we value the work Carers carry out every day for family members, and friends. The past year has highlighted more than ever the vital role of Carers in our community. We will continue to ensure that Carers are supported, valued and recognised for the important role they play in providing support to those they care for.’
Councillor Chris Williams, Carer Champion said:
‘We all have a part to play in ensuring our carers know that they are seen and heard. There are however, many hidden carers in our community, including child carers, and we would urge you to support and help them to realise that there is help available.’.’
For more information, visit the Sutton Carers Centre website.