Residents across West Sussex are being asked to “Think carer” this June as the role of unpaid carers is highlighted during Carers Week.
West Sussex County Council and the local NHS are working together with Carers Support West Sussex, and care and health organisations, to improve the lives of carers, and the people they care for.
Events are planned across West Sussex throughout Carers Week, which runs from June 9-15, to champion the contribution of carers and to reach out to local people who are missing out on support and services that can help them with their caring role.
And for the first time during Carers Week, Friday June 13 has been designated Young Carers Day, to raise awareness of the importance of supporting young people with caring responsibilities, especially in schools and colleges.
One in eight people is an unpaid carer but often they will not identify themselves as a carer; instead they feel they are simply a wife, husband, son or daughter helping a loved one.
This year the Carers Week Quest has been launched to reach out to these ‘hidden carers’ and help them realise the nature of their role and the full range of support available.
Organisations across the county have pledged their support as part of the Quest, including West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Peter Catchpole.
Peter said: “Caring is something that comes naturally; it’s what we do when a friend or family member needs help. But without the right support, carers can face unbearable strain.
“By working with other organisations across West Sussex we can continue to reach more people and champion our local carers, ensuring that they feel fully supported in their role.”
NHS services across the county are committed to ensuring that carers across West Sussex are able to receive the best possible support, as and when they need it. Local services from GP practices to hospitals will be supporting Carers Week, and will be promoting local support services throughout the week, including any specific events taking place for Carers Week.
A spokesman on behalf of the three NHS clinical commissioning groups in West Sussex said: “Carers are incredibly important to the NHS.
They play such a vital role in caring for people in their own home and in the community, whether they are a partner, family member, friend or neighbour.
Too often carers do not receive the recognition and support they need and deserve, but we are committed to working with our partners across the local NHS and at West Sussex County Council to identify more local carers, and make sure they have access to vital help and support.
“Helping carers to stay well themselves is also very important and we are working across the local NHS to make sure people who are caring for someone have information and advice on how they can look after themselves and meet their own health needs.”
Also supporting Carers Week are Carers Support West Sussex and Crossroads Care, partner organisations working together to support carers. The joint message from Chief Executives Jennie Musgrove and Geoff Coleman is simple.
Jennie said: “We want local people to encourage anyone who is caring to call Carers Support on 0300 028 8888.
“It may be family, a friend or a neighbour who is caring for a child or adult with additional needs, an illness, frailty, dementia, disability or drug or alcohol problem. They need to know that information, support and a respite break is just a call away.”
A full local events programme can be found at www.carerssupport.org.uk. Further details on Carers Week and the Carers Week Quest can be found at www.carersweek.org