KENDAL based charity Carers Support South Lakes is joining hundreds of organisations across the UK on Carers Rights Day (Thursday 21 November), to raise awareness of people’s rights as carers and the help that is available to them.
Carers Support South Lakes helps around 1,250 unpaid carers, aged between six and 98-years-old, but they say that’s a fraction of the number of people who could qualify for support. Across Cumbria they believe there are at least 56,000 people in caring roles, with approximately 12,000 in South Lakes. There are five carer support charities in Cumbria.
Gavin Shore, from Carers Support South Lakes, explained what they could be missing out on: “Under the Care Act, the local authority has a responsibility to identify and support carers, and we can help with the free assessment. That looks at the impact of the role, how needs can be met and gives carers a voice. For young carers and adults caring for disabled children they are assessed under the Children and Families Act.
“We know that caring for someone else is a trying, emotionally demanding selfless act which we always respect and support. It’s a very difficult role no matter how devoted people are to those they are caring for.
“We expect many carers have little idea of their statutory rights or the resources available. We are here to ensure carers get the support they are entitled too and need, we do this by working with the local authority or other community partners,” added Gavin.
Carers Support South Lakes is helping carers in many different ways. A young professional, who has had to put her career on hold to look after her two brothers, is getting advise on how they could be more independent. She is also being helped with funding and being supported to cope with her new situation. The charity organises group activities and breaks for a young teen carer who looks after her mum and they found funding for a new bike for a carer whose ‘me time’ is cycling.
Mike Seaton, chief executive officer of Carer Support South Lakes, said: “Whatever your age, no matter how long you have been a carer, it’s important that you understand your rights and access support as soon as you need it.
“We can help with a carer assessment, counselling, carer breaks, group and one to one support as well as planning for an emergency and putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney. We are here so that no one feels alone with their caring responsibilities,” added Mike.
Carers UK, the organisers behind the annual awareness day, state that every day 6,000 people in the United Kingdom become carers. They say carers may find themselves talking to health and social care providers; negotiating with employers to juggle work with caring; dealing with the intricacies of the benefits system and considering how to fund future care costs. And this, Carers UK says, can feel overwhelming, bewildering and stressful.
Anyone in a caring role in South Lakes can get help by contacting Carer Support South Lakes via their website, carersupportsouthlakes.org.uk or by calling 01539 815970. People are also invited to drop-in to their pop-up shop in Wainwright’s Yard in Kendal between Wednesday 4 and Friday 20 December.