Carers Week, which runs from 6-12th June, is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with thousands of events planned for carers across the UK. This year the seven charities driving Carers Week are calling on individuals, services and organisations across the country to build Carer Friendly Communities – places where carers are supported to look after their loved ones, while being recognised as individuals with needs of their own. For example, a GP practice might offer appointment times that fit around someone’s caring responsibilities, or an employer might implement HR policies to support employees who juggle work with care. For a check list that details steps for how your surgery, school, employer and local community can take action to become more carer friendly click here.
What is a carer?
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.
For some, taking on a caring role can be sudden: someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer or your partner’s health gradually worsens.
The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing care day and night.
Caring will touch each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer or need care ourselves. Whilst caring can be a rewarding experience, it can also have a damaging impact on a person’s health, finances and relationships.
To find out how you can get support in your caring role, visit: www.carersweek.org/support
Facts about carers
- 5 million people in the UK are carers; that’s 1 in 8 adults
- By 2037, it is estimated that the number of carers in the UK will rise to 9 million
- Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people every year
- 58% of carers are women and 42% are men
- Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer
- Over 3 million people juggle care with work, however the significant demands of caring mean that 1 in 5 carers are forced to give up work altogether
Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and MS Society.
Carers Week is kindly supported by Sainsbury’s, Nutricia and the Lockwood Charitable Foundation.