From the 7 to 13 June, it’s Carers Week and the time to openly thank those unpaid carers who, young and old, care in the home for someone in their family.

This year’s theme is ‘make caring visible and valued’ and will raise awareness and celebrate the massive and often forgotten contribution that unpaid carers make to our communities. It will highlight the challenges unpaid carers face, recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK and aim to help people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

There are 6.5m UK-wide carers who look after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or needs a little extra help as an older person and it’s a fact that people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and that many more people are taking on more of these caring responsibilities. It’s estimated there are around 90,000 unpaid carers in Sheffield who provide help and support to relatives and friends and because many  people still don’t think of themselves as carers, the total could be even higher. 1 in 4 young people aged 8 – 25 in Sheffield is a carer.

Nationally, with four in five unpaid carers providing more care than before the March lockdown in 2020 and more than 78% of carers reporting that the needs of the person they care for have increased recently, and that 64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks at all in the last six months, the week feels all the more important this year. These statistics demonstrate that it’s more important than ever for carers to ‘self-identify’ as carers and to access the support available so that they can care well and safely and make sure that their own wellbeing is maintained.

This year, we are emphasising the massive difference that someone can make to a carer’s life by pointing them in the direction of the help and support that they can access. We’re urging people to look out for how they can help a carer to access these services and above all, we’re asking people to simply recognise and appreciate our carers for everything that they do.

Councillor George Lindars-Hammond, Executive Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council said: “We must all recognise just how much carers do for those who have care needs in our city and we thank them again this year for everything they do, particularly during this last year which has placed extra challenges on them.  If they weren’t doing that they are doing, we need to remind ourselves that it would cost the equivalent of the NHS budget to replace them. We know that caring can impact on carers’ health so we’re making sure that there is as much support available to them as possible so that they can keep healthy and well.”

Sheffield Carers Centre, www.sheffieldcarers.org.uk provides help, advice and support to adults who care and young carers can access help at www.sheffieldyoungcarers.org.uk

Sheffield will be marking the week with Sheffield Carers Centre, Sheffield Young Carers and Sheffield City Trust working together and providing support to both adult and young carers respectively. Two offers will be available, the first a ‘special 7-day fitness pass’ valid from 7-30 June that provides free access to Sheffield City Trust’s gyms, fitness classes and swimming pools for adults registered with Sheffield Carers Centre. Details on how to access a pass are here and the second, exclusive access to a free ice-skating session at Ice Sheffield on either Saturday 19 or Saturday 26 June for young carers (8-25) who are being supported by Sheffield Young Carers – details on how to access the offer here or here

More information about the national Carers Week campaign is at www.carersweek.org and www.doyoucare.co.uk provides information and support for unpaid carers in Sheffield.

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