Community organisations in Cumbria are spreading the message that “help is out there” for unpaid carers in the county.
More than 56,000 people in the county are juggling the challenges of unpaid caring for a loved one with work and other commitments.
A carer is someone of any age who cares unpaid for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, mental health or addiction could not manage without support.
Speaking as part of Stress Awareness Month this month, South Lakeland Carers CEO, Mike Seaton said: “Carers Support Cumbria exists to enable support to be delivered to unpaid carers throughout Cumbria’s six districts. We support all carers; young, adult, working, and parent carers.
“In the 2011 census 56,495 individuals in Cumbria declared themselves as carers – this was an increase of nine per cent from the previous census in 2001. And as we wait for the results from the census we all took part in last month, we expect that figure to have risen sharply again.
“And, the majority of people are providing care for more than 50 hours a week. As we think about Stress Awareness this month, we want to reach out to those who are unpaid carers to let them know we and other carer organisations across Cumbria are here to help.”
Three in five chance
You have a three in five chance of being a carer at some point in your life, with 2.3 million adults giving up work to care in the UK.
“We believe there is a hidden army of unpaid Carers in Cumbria; we can help you and support you in your caring role,” said Craig Backhouse, CEO at Furness Carers.
“If you are a carer, you are legally entitled to a carer’s assessment, which identifies your needs as a carer. Your local carers’ organisation can do the assessment with you once you get in touch and then work together to draw up a support plan.
“The support plan can include things that you feel will help you, such as respite care, information or involving other agencies.”
Dani Leslie of Eden Carers added: “We operate from a strength-based approach, looking at what you are already accomplishing, what support networks you have and helping you via the support plan to help fill the gaps.
“We work on a referral basis – you can refer yourself to us by phoning the number below. Or you can ask a relative or professional (including your GP or care provider) to get in touch for you.
“Once we’ve got some basic information about you and the person you’re caring for, one of our trained carer support workers will get in touch with you and take things from there.”
Support is out there
If you are an unpaid carer, your local carers’ organisation can provide you with information and support. You can contact them by emailing or calling their office:
Carer Support South Lakes, Email: [email protected] Tel: 01539 815970
Carlisle Carers Email: [email protected] Tel: 01228 542156
Eden Carers Email: [email protected] Tel: 01768 890280
Furness Carers Email: [email protected] Tel: 01229 822822
West Cumbria Carers Email: [email protected], Tel 01900 821976.