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UK Care Week 2024: Five councils that are taking part

With UK Care Week in full swing, we look to local authorities nationwide who are joining in the fight to get better support for our unsung heroes.

The theme of this years UK Care Week, which is running from 10th-16th June 2024, is ‘Putting Carers on the Map’ and arguably it’s the best theme since the event was launched in 2020. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistic show there was an estimated five million usual residents aged five years and over who provided unpaid care in 2021. What’s more, research from Carers UK in 2022 found the figure could be as high as 10.6 million. 

To try and gain recognition for these remarkable individuals, Carers Week have launched an online platform where unpaid carers – or friends/family of unpaid carers – can upload a picture of themselves and their full name onto the website so they can finally be admired for the work they have been doing. A link to the website can be found in full here.

In addition, councils across the UK have been working to raise awareness for carers this week. Below are five examples of how local authorities have been getting involved. 

Shropshire Council:

From Sunday 9th June to Sunday 16th June the council are hosting 35 activities across Shropshire. These include canal trips, garden and museum visits, walks and talks, music and craft sessions and National Trust visits. The activities are designed to give carers a break from their role and offer them an opportunity to connect with other people who work in the same field as them.

Cecilia Motely, cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: ‘Carers Week is a chance to express our gratitude to all our unpaid and family carers in Shropshire.

‘The theme for Carers Week this year is ‘Putting carers on the map’. We fully appreciate the important support you offer to others, and we want to make sure you are acknowledged and assisted. It’s essential that we put carers on the map and highlight the great contribution they make.’

Knowsley Council:

Taking a step back from hosting activities, Knowsley are paying closer attention to the theme of this year’s UK Care Week as the council is revealing estimates of the number of unpaid carers across the borough.

According to the most recent Census figures, there are almost 17,000 carers living in Knowsley. Although the council have claimed that, as many carers don’t recognise themselves are taking part in such a role, the number is likely to be much higher. Through their own research, Knowsley Council found Whiston and Cronton ward has the highest percentage of residents who are self-reported unpaid carers at 12.5%, with Northwood (12.1%) and St Gabriels (11.9%) closely following. On average, the research found that the number of self-reported carers in the borough is 11.4%.

Against this backdrop, the Census report discovered Knowsley also has the largest proportion of people in England providing 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week (4.3%).

Wrexham County Borough Council:

As Care Week spans across the whole of the UK, it only seems right to highlight what local authorities in Wales are doing to celebrate the event too.

Wrexham are hosting a range of events within the next week that are looking to educate and inspire locals about the importance of unpaid carers. The council have commissioned NEWCIS, an organisation that delivers support, training and counselling to unpaid carers in North East Wales and Celtic Financial Planning, to hold a workshop for people struggling with the costs of care. The clinic is set to offer guidance on strategies to mitigate care costs and planning around care fee management. This can be booked through NEWCIS and will take place on Friday 14th June from 9am to 12pm. 

In addition, members of Wrexham Council will be hosting information stands at Mold Market, local supermarkets and community hospitals to try and raise awareness for unpaid carers. These will be available from 12th-13th June.

Lastly, NEWCIS will be working with Wrexham to host afternoon tea drop-ins from 10am-2pm on 11th June to 12th June 2024.

Claire Sullivan, NEWCIS CEO, said: ‘Here at NEWCIS we’re joining with many organisations across the country to help and support carers know their rights and use the knowledge and information we can provide to support carers in their caring roles.’

Wandsworth Council:

The London local authority are looking to support the wellbeing of carers this week as they cited the example that one in eight of us, at some point in our lives, will look after a loved one who has a disability, mental or physical illness, addiction or grows too old to be able to care for themselves.

Whilst people often take on the role with no questions asked, the council have said that these responsibilities can affect people of all ages and backgrounds and can be physically and emotionally challenging. With this in mind, Wandsworth Carers Centre is hosting a range of activities and workshops throughout June and into July to try and provided much-needed respite.

The activities include going out for afternoon tea, visiting the zoo, carers picnic’s, free yoga sessions, cupcake making classes and self-care sessions. A list of the councils full itinerary can be found here.

As well as providing ventures that will help carers to relax, the council are also urging people to seek help from their GP if they begin struggling with their mental health – carers can take a free carer’s assessment, which is a conversation between themselves and their GP that helps understand the impact caring is having on their lives and how they can best be supported. The council have said this is particularly important for young carers under the age of 18.

Rotherham Council:

Research shows there are over 23,000 unpaid carers in Rotherham who care for a family member or a friend. This statistic prompted the council to join local partners and charities in support of Carers Week 2024.

To mark the event, the Manchester-based local authority are working with organisations such as Crossroads, The Rainbow Project, The LIFE Group, Healthwave and Active For Life to host forums for local carers. Topics that are set to be discussed include training and dementia support and advice on cheaper travel. The events are set to set place from Tuesday 11th June until Thursday 13th June 2024. In-depth details, including a full timetable of the events, can be accessed here.

Ian Spicer, strategic director of adult Care, housing and public health, at Rotherham Council said: ‘Many people don’t recognise that they are carers and that they can get help and support. We need to continue to raise awareness among our communities so that carers who need support can access it.’

Nicola Curley, strategic director children and young people’s services, added: ‘Carers under the age of 18 are a particularly hard to reach group and like their older counterparts they simply don’t realise that there’s a lot of much needed help and support available to them when they care for others.

‘We’re going to be joining our partner organisations out in the community, where we’ll be talking to people about their circumstances, in the hope that we can identify more carers and help them with their responsibilities. I’d urge anyone who cares for someone else to come and talk to us.’

Images: Shutterstock

More on Care Week:

Carers Week: 60% of ‘hidden carers’ are struggling with their mental health

Report launched to mark the beginning of Carers Week 2024

Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.

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