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TO CELEBRATE national Carers Week 2021, which was from 7 to 13 June, Ceredigion County Council worked with colleagues across Health and the third sector to arrange a variety of free activities to support unpaid Carers. Some activities were jointly hosted with partners in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Carers Week is an annual event to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid Carers face, and recognising the valuable contribution that they make to their families and communities in the county.

The activities were based on feedback given by unpaid Carers to the Carers Unit during the last 8 months. Sessions included an online retreat day (yoga, mindfulness etc), sleep and relaxation techniques, Carers Forum cuppa and chat, confidence improvement sessions for carers wanting to return to work and a chance to learn more about nature and have a go at collage craft – all from the comfort of their own home, designed with unpaid Carers in mind.

Thanks go to Gofalwyr Ceredigion Carers (GCC), Cerebra, Mind Aberystwyth, Holistic Yoga Care Wales, West Wales Care Partnership, Carers Wales and Chwarae Teg for working with the Carers Unit to run the events.

During Carers Week, Ceredigion County Council also launched a new Carer’s Policy. The policy aims to support staff members who are currently juggling their jobs with a caring role at home. The local authority is committed to supporting and retaining caring members of the workforce and the Carer’s Policy helps to do this.

Juggling work and care is challenging and costly. ‘22% of Carers in Wales have either reduced their hours or given up work completely to care since the start of the pandemic.’ (Caring Behind Closed Doors Six Months On – Carers UK)

Supporting Carers to stay in work means that Carers don’t lose out on building a better pension for later life and their ability to maintain a good quality of life outside of their caring role. In the current climate, employers also benefit from keeping experienced, skilled workers rather than recruiting and retraining staff.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Carers Champion said: “It is great to see opportunities for unpaid Carers continuing in the county. Covid has been tough on everyone but unpaid Carers especially. A report by Carers UK released during Carers Week says ‘Three-quarters of Carers (74%) reported being exhausted as a result of caring during the pandemic, and more than a third (35%) said they feel unable to manage their unpaid caring role’.

That’s why support for Carers in Ceredigion is more crucial than ever. Events that were held during Carers Week helped Carers feel that they are not on their own.”

The Ceredigion Employability Support Team also got involved with the campaign and raised awareness of what they can offer to help support carers, such as help pay towards a carer so non-paid carers can receive training for employment opportunities.

Missed Carers Week? An online nature collage session (22 June) with GCC 03330 143377 and a virtual wellbeing day with Carers Wales 07933 218261 (29/06) are still welcoming all unpaid Carers for free. Call them to book.

If you look after a friend or family member who cannot manage on their own because they have an illness, poor health, disability, mental health issue or an addiction, you are an unpaid Carer. Carers Week may have passed, but caring continues 365 days a year. If you would like more information about the year-round support available to unpaid Carers in Ceredigion, please contact Ceredigion County Council’s Carers Unit: carersunit@ceredigion.gov.uk / 01970 633564

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