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Make carers visible across Surrey and Hampshire this Carers Week

3 minute read
Make carers visible across Surrey and Hampshire this Carers Week

Published by Lettie Buxton at 6:00am 10th June 2020. (Updated at 11:09am 10th June 2020)

'Making carers visible' is the theme for this year's Carers Week (8 to 14 June).

To mark the annual awareness week, Action for Carers Surrey is hoping to help more people recognise themselves as carers and get support.

They will be hosting a range of video events – from the practical (avoiding scams or back care) to the fun and social (with creative workshops, mindfulness sessions and even a singalong).

The charity has also started a new type of support group, for male carers only.


Surrey has 115,000 carers, looking after loved ones living with an illness, disability, or mental health condition.

Rhianna Williams, aged 25, has been caring for her mum, who has mental health issues, since she was six.

Rhianna Williams

She told Eagle Radio why she thinks this year's theme is so important:

"So many people don't even understand what an unpaid carer is.

"They really are so confused like 'oh, I've never thought about that'.

"It's just something that's not really in the public eye and I think it's so important to show people, this is what we do.

"I think it's really great to tell people's stories and they can look at it and think 'oh, this is what I've been going through and there is definitely support out there'.

"I think it's really important to mention that the support is still ongoing throughout COVID-19."

According to Action for Carers Surrey, with lockdown:

  • Carers have extra worries about the health of those they care for.
  • They are putting in more hours of caring (on average 10 hours per week) because of a reduction in services, as well as being unable to rely on the usual support of family and friends. There is no respite or break.
  • Isolation because of shielding is putting growing pressures on their physical and mental health.
  • Family finances may also have been affected.
  • Young carers (under 18) will have additionally lost the support and ‘normality’ of school.

Research by Carers UK has shown that 70 per cent of unpaid carers are providing more care for loved ones during the lockdown period, and 55 per cent felt overwhelmed and worried about burning out.

Other CUK research has found carers are seven times more likely to be lonely compared with the general public.

Action for Carers has announced this week that it is the first carers charity, and second charity at all, to have been awarded ‘Carer Confident’ accreditation.

Meanwhile, Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has become the first CCG in the country to gain the accreditation, with ‘Active Level’ status.

This scheme was launched by Carers UK in 2019 to recognise employer best practice in supporting staff carers.

The CCG has said its aim is to be the "most carer friendly organisation in Surrey and encourage others to follow our example".

Anybody in need of support can contact Action for Carers Surrey by calling 0303 040 1234 or emailing CarerSupport@actionforcarers.org.uk