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This week is Carers Week and it is all about raising awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges carers face and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities.
With COVID-19 turning the whole world upside down, thousands of people suddenly found themselves doing incredible things to help others, and the hard work and compassion demonstrated daily by our carers and NHS heroes has never been more appreciated.
There are approximately 34,000 people providing unpaid care in Coventry. The estimated value of the care they provide is £680 million per year. Now imagine how much more that might have been during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen a real community effort pull around Coventry in the last several months but the actions of unpaid carers are often not seen or heard of, a silent group of people who just care for those they love the most behind closed doors.
During lockdown measures, some carers roles we know became extremely intense, they may not be able to leave the person they care for any period of time, they might be shielding alongside the person they care for and the usual friends and family who play a supportive role will have had to stay away. It may mean that many carers have not had a break in months.
This week is all about increasing the visibility of unpaid carers.
Councillor Mal Mutton, portfolio holder for Adult Services at Coventry City Council said: “This year Carers Week is all about making the contribution unpaid carers make to society ‘visible’ and shining a light on the role that they play supporting their families, especially during these difficult times.
“I want to personally thank Coventry’s unpaid carers for the hard work, compassion and the selflessness that they practice every day supporting the ones they love.
“We recognise this awful pandemic has affected carers more than most, and it can often feel socially isolating, and caring for someone can heavily impact physical health and mental wellbeing. That’s why it is crucial carers in our community know that we are still here for them if they need help and support.”
How can we support carers during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We continue to circulate a carers bulletin on a monthly basis (last day of the month). This provides a regular update for carers/professionals about all agencies approaches to supporting carers.
Changes to CRESS Services
During the lockdown period CRESS are trying to meet the needs of carers who have not had a break and are unable to leave the person they care for alone for any period of time. This is a universal service but they need to be registered with the CRESS service. They can help by offering a short break so the carer can go out or they can offer support to take pressure of the carer such as completing their shopping on their behalf. We know that many carers right now are reticent to accept outside support but are also in desperate need of a break, so if you find a carer in this situation pick up the phone to CRESS and they will see if there is any way they can provide support.
Phone 024 7625 8816 – Opt1. (This will be a time limited service whilst lockdown measures are in effect and is particularly aimed at supporting those carers who cannot leave the person they care for).
Unpaid Carers are now eligible for testing as an essential worker
Carers can book a test under the essential worker route. However, we’ve noticed when they get to a certain point in the online referral process they are not on the list, our advice is to click VOLUNTEER at that stage. If a carer is displaying symptoms it is strongly advised that they do not provide care during that time. If the carer is registered with CRESS they may be able to help for a time-limited period whilst the carer waits for their test results.