Eight major charities have combined forces to get communities across the UK involved, encouraging people to register events and pledge support in the run-up to Carers Week 2017 (12-18 June) – a national awareness week that celebrates and recognises the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people across the UK who currently provide unpaid care for a disabled, ill or older family member or friend.
David Mowat MP, Minister for Community Health and Care, joined senior representatives from the Carers Week charities, NHS, local government and business to launch community engagement for Carers Week encouraging local organisations, the public and carers to get involved in the week and pledge their support to build Carer Friendly communities.
Carers Week helps the public to understand more about caring, highlights the challenges carers face and celebrates the contribution carers make to their families and communities throughout the UK. The campaign galvanises support from all corners of society, including individuals, local organisations, businesses, politicians and the media. It will also be a time of intensive local activity with thousands of events taking place across the UK.
Caring can be a rewarding experience but without the right support many carers find themselves facing financial hardship, ill-health, emotional stress, relationship breakdown and isolation.
Carers Week 2017 will again focus on building Carer Friendly Communities – places that understand a carer's daily reality and do what they can to make life a little bit easier for them. For example, a GP practice might offer appointment times that fit around someone's caring responsibilities, or an employer might support employees who juggle work with care to work flexible hours or take time off.
David Mowat MP, Minister for Community Health and Care, said:
"Carers make an invaluable contribution to society — and I was delighted to join colleagues in promoting Carer Friendly communities. We are already working hard to support them and have introduced huge reforms, including a duty for local authorities to assess any carer who requires support. But we can all play a part to make sure our communities are carer friendly — I commend the Carers Week campaign to raise awareness of this vital issue."
Heléna Herklots CBE, on behalf of Carers Week, 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.
"Carers have told us that it makes a huge difference to their lives when they are supported by their local services and communities; building Carer Friendly communities, whether that's offering a flexible GP appointment, having flexible working policies or raising awareness in schools of caring, can make a positive difference.
"We want the public to recommend Carer Friendly communities and urge everyone to pledge their support to carers and make a change."
There are lots of different ways to get involved in Carers Week:
- Recommend an organisation or service that is carer friendly
- Pledge your support for Carers Week and carry out a change that will help your organisation or service to become more carer friendly
- Run an activity or event and add it to the Carers Week website
- Follow Carers Week on Twitter @CarersWeek and use the hashtag #carersweek
- Like Carers Week on Facebook and join in with the discussions