Carers Week takes place from 6–12 June 2016. This annual campaign aims to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges that carers face and recognise the contribution that the 6.5 million carers in the UK make to their families and communities.
People can find themselves needing help for many reasons. They could have been born with a disability or had an accident, have an illness or disease or have poor physical or mental health.
Becoming a carer isn’t always a conscious decision – many people would say they are just being a mum, dad, wife, husband, friend or neighbour. Caring might involve helping get someone dressed, turning them in their sleep, helping them use the toilet or administering medication. Carers also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money.
Caring for someone can strengthen relationships, help you learn new skills, realise your potential and be fulfilling and life-affirming. But evidence shows caring can also cause ill health, poverty and social isolation. When caring is unsupported and intensive it can be difficult to keep a job, sleep well, live a healthy lifestyle and dedicate time to friends and family. Statistics show that three out of five of us will become carers at some point in our lives.
This year Carers Week is celebrating Carer Friendly Communities and asking organisations to commit to supporting carers. Carer Friendly Communities are places where carers feel supported to look after their family or friends and are recognised as individuals with needs of their own.
In 2015/16 Create ran multi-arts programmes with almost 500 young and adult carers. We are committed to continuing to deliver free participatory creative arts workshops with carers across the UK, providing a social and creative outlet, boosting wellbeing and enabling peer-support.
Shilpa, an adult carer who took part in one of our projects, said: “Being a carer is hard work. You’re forever thinking about the other person and not looking after yourself. When you’re caring for someone who’s health is getting worse, it’s hard because you’re losing someone. I used to be a dressmaker, I made cushions, cardigans, everything, and I used to be a keen baker. When you look back at it, I have led a very creative life but nowadays my mind is preoccupied with caring so I’ve forgotten these things about myself. I wasn’t thinking clearly before but Create has opened my eyes and woken me up.”
During Carers Week we’ll be celebrating some of the partner organisations that we collaborate with to deliver creative programmes for carers. These organisations have a hugely positive impact on the communities where they work, despite an increasingly difficult financial environment, and we’d like to thank them all for their life changing work.
Keep an eye on our blog and social media for a profile of a different Carer Friendly partner organisation each day this week. You can find more information about Carers Week on the campaign’s website.
Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive