We all have certain relatives, colleagues or friends who we hugely value, not least because of how they help us to get more out of life. Carers definitely fall into that category, too.
Defined as people who provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend with a disability, illness, mental health problem or simply the need for a little extra help to get the most out of life, carers really are among the UK’s greatest unsung heroes.
What’s more, there are around 6.5 million carers in the UK. That’s why it’s entirely right that the vital contribution carers make to the wellbeing of our country is recognised annually by Carers Week, which takes place this year from 11th to 17th June 2018.
What can you expect from this year’s festivities?
As you might expect, Carers Week places much emphasis on celebration. However, the campaign isn’t just about recognising the remarkable worth of what carers do – it’s also about individuals, groups and organisations coming together to support carers’ health and wellbeing.
If you are a carer yourself, why not attend one or more of the many events and activities set to be held across the UK over the week?
With the likes of afternoon teas, arts and crafts groups, drop-in events and various other events taking place in every corner of the country, there is sure to be something in your region for you and anyone you care for to enjoy.
But this is just something for carers, right?
Of course it isn’t! Carers Week wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the thousands of individuals and organisations who work so hard every year to make the campaign a success.
It might be that you hold your own event to mark Carers Week and to support the carers in your community – in which case, we’d urge you to make sure everyone knows, by adding your event to the database at www.carersweek.org.
It’s not just these once-a-year events that make a difference to carers’ lives, however, and there are all manner of other, simple actions you can take.
There’s so much you can do to show your support
Individuals can certainly do their bit for Carers Week, such as by running events and activities, using social media and distributing flyers to spread the word about the campaign.
However, employers can also take a variety of actions. You might not have known, for instance, that almost half of carers work alongside their caring duties, and that about one in nine employees are carers. That means there’s a good chance of there being at least one carer in your workplace.
As an employer, you may therefore signal your support for your carer employees by introducing and promoting flexible working policies, including paid care leave so that your workers aren’t forced to take annual leave for caring emergencies.
Healthcare providers can play their part, too – for example, by offering flexible appointment times and priority time slots for carers, or developing a wider practice policy with carers in mind.
For more information on everything set to take place during Carers Week, consult www.carersweek.org. This year’s running of the campaign promises to be an amazing one!