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Every day 6,000 people take on a new caring role in the UK. Up and down the UK there are 6.5 million people caring unpaid for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. These people are called carers but they would probably say "I'm just being a husband, a wife, a mum, a dad, a son, a daughter, a friend or a good neighbour."

When people need help with their day-to-day living they often turn to their family and friends. Looking after each other is something that we do. We should all be prepared to care.

Carers help with personal things getting someone washed and dressed, turning them in their sleep, helping them move about or administering their medication. Carers also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money.

Carers Week celebrates and recognises the contribution of all of the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers.

Over 100,000 of us in the UK have MS. It's unpredictable and different for everyone. It's often painful, exhausting and can cause problems with how we walk, move, see, think and feel.

We know that around three quarters of people with MS will rely on care and support from family and friends at some point. That means there is a huge community of people living with MS in the UK. Most see themselves as relatives or friends first and might not think of themselves as carers.

We're the MS Society. Whether you have MS, or care about someone who does, our community is here for you through the highs, lows and everything in between. We understand what life's like with MS.

We provide a range of free information and support for people living with MS on our website. You can also call our Freephone MS Helpline 0808 800 8000.

We're driving research into more – and better – treatments. For everyone. Together, we are strong enough to stop MS.

How we support families and carers

We provide information
We have several publications specifically for the families and carers of people with MS. Order or download these from our website or contact the Information Team on 020 8438 0799 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is also lots of information on our website, and an online discussion forum specifically for carers

We provide emotional support
Families and carers can call our confidential freephone MS Society helpline on 0808 800 8000, from 9am – 7pm, Monday to Friday.

We provide grants
Our Carers' grant fund provides grants for things like leisure activities and personal development. There are three chances to apply – as a young carer, as a 'transitional' carer aged 16 – 24, and as an adult carer. We also have the Short Breaks and activities fund, to which carers can apply for help towards the cost of a wide range of different types of breaks.

Contact the Grants Team on 020 8438 0700 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We provide local support
We have a UK-wide network of 268 local branches that offer emotional and practical support, information, grants and social activities and events.

Find your local branch here.

We campaign
We campaign for carers and work with parliamentarians, policy makers and other partners to improve services and support for carers.

Visit our website to find out about, or get involved in our campaigns.

If you're supporting a loved one through cancer Macmillan is here for you.

You may feel like you're just doing your bit - but the support you provide is key. From helping with household chores or personal care, to providing transport or just being there to listen. It makes all the difference.

You may feel overwhelmed, exhausted and drained - physically, emotionally, and financially. You're likely to need support too and we're here to help - from free information booklets to details of self-help and support groups. You may be eligible for financial help or rights at work. We can help guide you through.

Visit to find out more.

Financial support

When you're supporting someone with cancer, your finances can feel the strain. Whether it's transport to hospital, picking up extra shopping or helping with their bills and household costs - it can all add up. You may have reduced your working hours too. If you're worried about money or work, we can help. Call our Support Line or visit to find out more.

Emotional support and practical help

Sometimes it can be hard to put on a brave face when you're supporting a loved one with cancer. You don't have to cope alone. If you have questions or just need to talk things through, we're here to listen. Whatever you need, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 8am-9pm). You can also access support through our Online Community. To speak to someone who knows how you feel, because they're facing cancer, or are close to someone who is, go to

We have information resources on how to manage the practicalities of supporting someone through cancer, as well as tips on coping with the range of emotions their cancer diagnosis can bring. It's all free and available at
We can also direct you to local services in your area that can help you, such as local carers' centres and support groups. Call our Support Line to find out more.

Charlotte Argyle, Carers Support Programme Manager at Macmillan:

"As the number of people living with cancer doubles in the next 20 years from two to four million, the number of carers will also increase. It's vitally important cancer carers are fully supported to enable them to cope with the demands of their role. As a Carers' Week supporter we can reach and support more cancer carers, celebrate their contribution and lobby government for increased support."

Whatever you need, the Macmillan team is here for you, every step of the way. Because we care.

As a charity which campaigns to give a voice to older people on the issues that matter to them, Independent Age is proud to support Cares Week 2017. As a provider of free advice and information to older people and their families, we understand the important role that carers play.

Carers Week recognises the valuable contribution that people make when they look after an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. There are 6.5 million carers in the UK – 1.5 million are over 60. Every day, 6000 people take on new caring responsibilities. 

Janet Morrison Chief Executive, Independent Age, said:

“Carers play an extremely important role in our society. Not enough carers get the support or recognition they need. We were shocked to learn from our ‘Bigger Picture’ research that there are at least 380,000 older carers in England who provide 50+ hours of care a week without any help from their local authority. Carers Week 2016 not only gives us an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work that carers do, but it also gives us the chance to think about what we can be doing as a community to support those with care responsibilities.”

About us

Independent Age is a growing charity helping older people across the UK to live more independent, fulfilling lives.

Founded over 150 years ago, we are an established voice for older people and their families and carers, offering free advice and information and providing services, such as befriending, to promote wellbeing and reduce loneliness.

In addition to this, we use the knowledge and understanding gained from our frontline services to campaign on issues that affect older people, like poverty, loneliness and carers’ rights.

For more information, visit our website

Speak to one of our advisers for free and confidential advice and information. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 10am - 4.30pm. Freephone 0800 319 6789 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Age UK is the country's largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.

In the UK we help more than seven million people every year, providing support, companionship and advice for older people who need it most. We work as part of a network of independent charities which includes Age UK; our national partners Age Cymru, Age NI and Age Scotland and over 150 local Age UK partners in England.

Age UK and many of its local partners are pleased to participate in Carers Week 2017. We provide help and support to carers across the country in many different ways - such as offering counselling and support groups, sharing advice on Carers Assessments and benefits, and providing day care and respite, or organising fun activities to allow carers to relax.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK says:

"Caring for someone is a tough job which places a heavy and emotional toll on the carer. Two million of those who care for a family member or friend in this country are themselves older people, often with their own health problems. And astonishingly, more than a hundred thousand people in their eighties and beyond are caring full-time.

"All carers need our support – whether individually with us all trying to help out or at a society level with Government and Local Authorities making sure that respite services are readily available and employers offer flexible working arrangements. No easy task when there is a risk of a complete collapse of social care in some parts of the country.

"Age UK provides independent information and advice to help carers and their families now. We also campaign to reform the care system and help carers get the support they need in the future."

For more information visit or call our free advice line on 0800 678 1174.

Every day, 6,000 people become carers. Many don't know how or where to get help. For some, caring comes suddenly: someone you love is taken ill or has an accident, your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents cannot manage on their own any longer, your partner's health gets gradually worse. No matter what the circumstances are, caring is rarely in the plan.

Many carers are stretched to the limit – juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with poor health themselves. Carers often find it hard to make ends meet if they're unable to work or if they've reduced their working hours to care.

At Carers UK, we want a world where carers are supported not only to cope with the challenges of looking after someone, but to build a life of their own too. A life which includes caring but is not overwhelmed by it. We give expert advice, information and support. We connect carers so no-one has to care alone and we campaign together for lasting change. 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Carers Week has always been a great opportunity to focus on carers, raising the profile of what families and close friends do, unpaid. We know that there are people out there caring day in, day out, supporting loved ones who are disabled, older or seriously ill and need care, but for many what they do is unrecognised. During Carers Week we ask local communities and individuals to find new ways to reach out and help carers.

Carers UK will engage all of our networks in Carers Week 2017. We'll be working with our active membership of carers, our hundreds of volunteers, over 115 employers engaged in our Employers for Carers forum and our network of local, affiliated organisations, who are in touch with carers in communities throughout the UK. Together we can all make carers feel valued and supported for the huge contribution they make.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive, Carers UK said:

“Carers Week is a fantastic way to celebrate the vital contribution carers make to our families, communities and wider society. We know that caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience, but without the right support at the right time, caring can also have a huge impact on a carer's emotional and physical health, work and finances.

Engaging all parts of our community from GPs and pharmacies to supermarkets, universities and employers Carers Week is an opportunity to grow understanding of carers and caring and to build communities that help us all look after loved ones without putting our own lives on hold”


Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

We do this with a UK wide network of quality assured independent partners, through our unique online services and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives. With locally based Network Partners we are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks. We offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individually tailored support and group activities. 

To find your nearest Network Partner, call 0300 772 9600 or visit 

Carers Trust also supports carers through online services such as and Babble and Matter for young and young adult carers.

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive for Carers Trust, said:

Three in five of us will become a carer at some point in our lives, that’s why it is vital that we help to raise awareness of carers and the important role they play in their families and within the community.

“Caring isn’t something we plan for, so if or when it happens we need to ensure the carer receives all the help and support they need to carry out their role as an unpaid carer.

“Carers Week plays a key role in raising awareness of carers’ needs, as well as highlighting the many services available to them from charities like ourselves."

Carers Week is the UK's annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to organise activities and events throughout the UK, drawing attention to just how important caring is.


Carers Week 2016 focused on Building Carer Friendly Communities. Communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Download our research report to find out what we've been calling for and how we can all help build Carer Friendly Communities.

Carers UK organises Carers Week annually. We respect the privacy of visitors. Carers UK collects "personal information" about you to allow us to identify you. This includes your name and email address, as well as information volunteered by yourself. Any information we collect about you will be stored securely and treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not pass your personal details to other people or organisations.

If you indicated that you are interested in receiving regular information we will send you communications regarding our work and activities, either electronically or otherwise.

Cookies on Carers Week website

Cookies are small text markers stored on your computer that enable us to understand how people use our website. No personally identifiable information is stored on the cookies. In common with many similar websites, we use them to help remember preferences and for anonymous statistical measurements - for example so we know how many "hits" a page has had.

You can control and delete cookies

Even though Carers UK does not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you, you might still want to restrict or block cookies. You can do this through your internet browser (Internet explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox etc). Use the help function to find out how.

This website has detailed information on how to block, restrict or delete cookies as well as more general information. However if you restrict cookies for the Carers Week website then there is a risk the website will not work fully.

What cookies do we use?

These are the main reasons we use cookies on the Carers Week website

Google Analytics

This is a service we use from Google that collects information about how people use our website. We use this to make sure we are providing the best service we can to our web visitors. Using cookies Google Analytics stores information about

  • what pages you visit
  • how long you stay on the page
  • how you came to the site
  • what things you click on

Although we collect this information we do not collect any personal information - so we don’t know what your name is or where you live. And the information we collect cannot be used to identify you. Also this information is for Carers UK’s use only and we don't allow Google to share it.

Joomla Content Management System

Joomla is the system we use to build the website and update the pages. In a similar way to Google analytics this also collects information about how many times a page has been visited and how many times a file is downloaded (Things like the PDFs of our research reports and briefings)

Third-party cookies

Many of our pages have a "Share this" function that allows you to share content with your friends or colleagues via email, Twitter, Facebook etc. We use cookies to make this service work. It tells us what items a person has shared, how many people are sharing and how many page "Hits" we have got as a result of the sharing. Again we do not collect anything that personally identifies you.

Cookies that are set by other websites

If you are using the sharing facility already mentioned (ie Share content with Facebook, Twitter) then it is possible those websites (ie. Facebook) may also set a cookie when you are also logged in to their service. Carers UK does not control these type of cookies.

Very occasionally we embed things like video, audio and pictures from other websites such as such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr or Soundcloud. This means it looks like one of our webpages but the video is being fed through from another site (ie YouTube) This means that every time you visit one of our pages with this sort of embedded content, those other sites may use their own cookies to record that you watched or views the content. Carers Week has no control over these cookies so you should check the relevant website for more information.

The Carers Week website contains links to other websites, blogs and social media. These are provided as other useful sources of information. Inclusion of a link to another website does not imply endorsement of any kind as to their content or quality.

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Carers Week 2018

These organisations joined together to make Carers Week happen in 2017

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  • Carers UK new logo
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  • independent age
  • macmillan
  • MSS-logo-orange partnersrow
  • MND logo
  • Which Elderly Care logo

Proudly supported by:

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    Charitable Foundation
  • Nutricia


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