Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council
Giving a voice to unpaid carers this National Carers Week.
Did you know there are more than 50,000 unpaid carers of all ages working in Buckinghamshire? Unpaid carers are those who look after family members, friends or neighbours who need extra support due to illness, age or disability. They play a vital role in helping people to continue living at home and supporting them in all aspects of their lives.
Monday 8 to Sunday 14 June marks Carers Week, a national, annual campaign that seeks to raise the profile of these dedicated men, women and children who do such an important job but don’t always get the full recognition or appreciation they deserve. With this in mind, the theme of this year’s celebration is about giving a voice to these individuals and raising awareness of the important work they do.
Earlier this year Buckinghamshire Council launched its all age Carer’s Strategy. At its heart, the document sets out a vision to create a carer friendly community in Buckinghamshire. It recognises the essential role that carers play and supports their needs, outlining the council’s commitment to ensuring carers have access to relevant information, advice and guidance.
Some of the actions in place already include:
- Encouraging employers to put policies in place to support carers, such as care leave or flexible working arrangements.
- Hosting a monthly drop-in support group for council staff who are carers and encouraging other employers to introduce similar support where possible.
- Working with GP surgeries to introduce appointments that fit around caring responsibilities.
- Working with schools and colleges to encourage positive discussions about caring, ageing and disability with students.
- Offering tailored support to young carers and young adult carers via our commissioned partner, Carers Bucks.
- Promoting support and services available to carers via posters and information in high street locations including pharmacies and supermarkets.
Carers may currently be under additional strain as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and other people may have taken on new caring roles as a result and may be trying to juggle these responsibilities with existing commitments so extra work is being carried out to ensure they feel supported and know where to go for help if needed.
Councillor Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Unpaid carers do a fantastic job of caring for loved ones at home, working hard every day to look after them and attending to their needs. Carers Week is a time to turn the spotlight on carers themselves and show our appreciation for all that they do.
“At Buckinghamshire Council we are determined to support all our carers, whatever their age or background and we will continue to work with our partners to do all we can to support their health and wellbeing.”
Cllr Macpherson continued: “One of the biggest challenges we face locally is finding ‘hidden’ carers. Many carers don’t recognise the term carer and consider looking after their loved one as their duty. This means that many carers are not getting the help and support that is available to them.”
Over the coming months Buckinghamshire Council will focus on reaching those hidden carers. Working with other community organisations including parish councils, small businesses and local groups to promote the support services that are available for them.