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Essential role of carers highlighted during Carers Week (June 12-18)

The vital contribution carers of all ages make to community and family life in Tower Hamlets is being highlighted as part of national Carers Week from 12-18 June.

Most people are likely to become a carer at some point in their life, giving unpaid support to a relative, partner or friend who cannot manage without help.

There are about 19,356 people in Tower Hamlets, who provide some form of unpaid care. And 3,326 of these are young carers under the age of 25.

The theme for this year’s Carers Week is ‘building carer friendly communities’.

The council works in partnership with organisations including Carers Centre Tower Hamlets, to offer a range of support to help carers in their role.

The council also worked with professionals in health and social care, voluntary and community groups, the carers’ forum, and local carers to refresh and update the Tower Hamlets Carers Strategy.

The strategy sets out how the council aims to:

* Identify and support more carers

* Support working carers and ensure that young carers get the help and guidance they need to fulfil their potential in education and to have the same opportunities as other young people

* Provide more opportunities for carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities

* Support carers to maintain good emotional and physical health

* Ensure that children and adults services work together better supporting young carers as they move from one service to the other.

Mayor John Biggs said:

“Carers Week is a great opportunity to recognise and highlight the valuable contribution that thousands of young and adult carers are making at the heart of community and family life in Tower Hamlets by looking after those who are ill, frail, or disabled.”

“We recognise that carers have their own needs and we want to ensure that carers feel valued and supported in their own right. Our updated carers strategy sets out how the council, working in partnership with organisations including Carers Centre Tower Hamlets, carers forums and health and social care professionals, will support carers to realise their individual potential, be it in education or in their home or working life.”

Carers Centre Tower Hamlets promotes carers’ issues; campaigns for better rights and recognition for carers; and identifies new carers. To give carers from all communities across the borough an opportunity to celebrate, the centre will hold a special week of activities for carers after Ramadan, from July 10-14. Activities will include pamper days, information days and outings.

Cllr Rachael Saunders, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Servicessaid:

“It’s wonderful to see communities across the UK coming together to celebrate and support carers and the huge difference they make to the lives of others.”

“We also look forward to the week of activities, information and events that Carers Centre Tower Hamlets will host in July, giving all residents, including Muslims who are currently observing the fasting period of Ramadan, a chance to join in.”

CASE STUDIES:

Barbara Albert cares for her 46-year-old son Anthony, who has Downs Syndrome.

“I have cared for Anthony since birth. I also cared for my husband who had Alzheimer’s from age 60 to 64 and passed away 14 years ago.

I have lived in Tower Hamlets for 50 years and have always had good support from family, day centres, schools and social workers.

“Sometimes, I have had to hunt for help. I found the Carers Centre when my husband was ill and now I have Council support in place, which helps me juggle my life.

When Anthony is at the day centre or when he is on a respite break once a month, I can visit friends or come to events such as today’s carers’ relaxation day at the Carers Centre.

I learn things from other carers and get information and advice about ‘lasting power of attorney’, for example.

We can build carer friendly communities by making our communities and places such as cafes and stores accessible to all.”

Paul Camilleri cares for his wife Kim, who has a physical disability.

He said: “As a carer, you find that the person you are caring for gets information and support and the carer is often left to make their own arrangements.

I found the centre about seven years ago when Kim had cancer. This place has saved my life. I have received help with filling out forms and I attend activities.

Carers need more information about where to access support.”

The council’s Young Carer project supports residents aged 8–18 years who have caring responsibilities.

The project offers weekly respite club sessions; activities including arts and crafts, a homework club, workshops, music group, and fun based events such as bowling, cooking and climbing. It also provides participant identified

needs assessments to help define needs and reduce barriers, to support working in partnership with parents and guardians.

Thirteen-year-old Steven, has been a carer since he was eight years old, he looked after his mum and now looks after his grandmother, father and young sibling. He says the Young Carers Project is somewhere he can talk to others, learn new skills and support other young carers.

“I feel very good when I am supported and feel appreciated because of the responsibility given to me through peer mentoring tasks, such as teaching other carers how to play pool.”

 – Press realise

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