At New Directions we want to recognise the vital contribution of the families and friends of the people we support this Carers Week 8th-14th June. As carers they have faced many challenges in keeping their loved ones safe and well during this Coronavirus pandemic. Their additional responsibilities may have affected their relationships, health and finances, so we want to highlight how important they are to us and in their communities by offering our continued support. ‘Making Caring Visible’ is this year’s Carers Week focus to raise awareness of the incredible unpaid impact carers make and take another important step toward getting carers the appreciation, information, advice and support they need.

There are 6.5 million carers in the UK supporting disabled families and friends whether it is a few hours per week, or daily support. For some the role of becoming a carer has been a constant, for others it happened suddenly and sometimes carers find their position grows gradually. Tasks range from collecting medication, personal care, shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking and managing money including applying for benefits. Providing this care can strengthen relationships and offers a learning process which results in multiple skills. However, we also know that caring for others can affect the health of carers themselves.

Many carers do not know where to get the support and respite that they need. This can lead to feelings of overwhelm, isolation and loneliness. Therefore, it is essential for carers to know that their families, friends and neighbours are there for them too. At New Directions we provide a community where our family carers can get advice and support. Knowing that someone understands how they feel can be just the relief they need. They find comfort in knowing that they can reach out and find services like ours available locally. This Carers Week we celebrate everything that the families and friends of the people we support do behind the scenes! We know that they will be facing unprecedented difficulties right now, so we are providing this informational support from www.carersweek.org to help them through. If you know anyone who may benefit from this resource called ‘Are You Looking After Someone Unpaid?’ please do let them know.