Carers Week 2022: Adult carers in harrow connect through filmmaking
As part of Carers Week 2022, we are proud to highlight some of the powerful voices from our creative:voices filmmaking project in Harrow.
Working alongside Create’s professional filmmaker Linda Mason, a group of adult carers from Harrow spent two months producing a short film together, enabling them to take a creative break from their caring responsibilities.
From pre-production to the final edit, the carers worked together to create a documentary that represents what Harrow Carers service means to them, sharing stories from the colourful cast of individuals who attend the service, and their hopes, dreams and passions.
Caring is a tough job. One in eight adults are carers, and over 1 million of them care for more than one person. These unpaid carers save the economy an estimated £132 billion every year.
Unsurprisingly, a caring role can take a huge toll on an individual’s life. 72% of carers responding to a 2018 Carers UK survey said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring.
“I LOOK AT CREATIVITY AS REINVENTING AND CONSTANTLY LEARNING.”Geeta, 65, carer
After a tumultuous year for Geeta (65), one of the adult carers who took part in the project, she found solace in surrounding herself with the community at Harrow Carers and has enjoyed every moment of her first Create project.
“I was like a child in a candy shop. I’ve always loved photography and anything to do with films. I’d done a very short course as a sixth former but since then I hadn’t done anything like that.
“I have been a carer for quite some time. I was caring for my parents, but unfortunately, they both passed away. Then I was caring for my sister. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Within a very short time after that, the youngest of my brothers – who was my soulmate – got diagnosed with kidney cancer. I’d lost my job through the pandemic. I was under so much pressure and was looking after others, but one of the lovely ladies from a carers service said to me, “Who’s looking after you?”
“Unfortunately, I lost my sister in November 2021, and within three weeks I lost my brother. I found myself at my lowest, so I sent an email to Harrow Carers and asked for help.
“This is my first Create project. Creativity is extremely important for everyone on a daily basis because if you don’t create daily, you’ll become very stale. I look at creativity as reinventing and constantly learning. One very profound thing that my father taught me was that you’re always learning, so never say you know it all because you don’t.
“Along the way, so many lovely people have come into my life. The project is amazing. Hannah [Create project manager] and Linda [Create filmmaker] are the most beautiful souls and they really welcomed us. I would love another wonderful project like this.”
Geeta’s sentiments were echoed by fellow carers who took part in the project. Wuod (64) a carer for two, said: “Creativity makes my dreams come true. I learnt how to use professional cameras, cameras which are very difficult, and I feel proud. I even took some photos of my family. This project is the best of the best, I’ve never been to a project that gives me such confidence. The Create team gave us so much confidence to do things. When I asked them: ‘Can I do this?’ they would say: ‘You choose!’ So all of my film, I made it myself. For me this is a dream.
“The project also helped improved my [English]. At home we always speak in my first language so when I came to this project and started speaking with friends and with other carers, it’s improved my language and I’m much better at it.”
“Carers stories are incredible stories.”Colin Powell, Operations Director at HArrow Carers
The participants, Create staff and Harrow Carers team gathered to celebrate the end of the project with a screening of the film, food and an awards ceremony. After watching the film, Colin Powell, Operations Director at Harrow Carers, said: “I’m touched, I had to hold back the tears. It was such a fantastic video and I could see so many different journeys taking place. The happiness, the creativity that you brought forward, the friendliness … it all beamed through. I want to thank these fantastic people from Create for assisting and putting this on. Carers’ stories are incredible stories and when we come together we can do great things. It’s so good to look after each other and be part of Harrow Carers and the carers family, so thank you.”
You can watch the film the group created below.