Incredible work of unpaid carers in Blackburn and Darwen celebrated during Carers Week
Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service thanks players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting local unpaid carers through lockdown.
A Blackburn charity is using this week’s Carers Week to shine a spotlight on the incredible extra work undertaken by local unpaid carers during the pandemic.
Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service is also highlighting the importance of funding – like that provided by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery – to support unpaid carers exhausted by long hours spent at home caring for a family member.
Vital role played by exhausted unpaid carers during lockdown
Even before the pandemic unpaid carers were exhausted. Two thirds of them were spending fifty hours or more each week caring for a family member or friend, according to Carers Trust – a national charity that operates a network of over 120 local partner services including Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service.
Coronavirus made an already bad situation even worse, with many carers having to increase their already long hours when lockdown meant that many support services and day centres for carers and those they care for were forced to close. A Carers Trust survey found that lockdown and closure of local services meant that one in six carers were having to work an additional forty hours a week on top of what they had already been doing.
How players of the People’s Postcode Lottery have been supporting women carers in Blackburn and Darwen through the pandemic
Money raised by Carers Trust allows the national charity to provide grants to unpaid carers via its local partner services - like Blackburn and Darwen Carers Service. Some of this money raised by Carers Trust comes from a special funding partnership with the People’s Postcode Lottery. The Carers Trust grants mean:
- Carers can buy essential household items like fridges and washing machines that would otherwise be unaffordable;
- Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service can fund group activities for unpaid carers, bringing them together with other local carers and addressing loneliness and isolation;
- Exhausted unpaid carers can receive a grant to pay for a respite break so they can get some much-needed time to themselves in the knowledge that the person they care for is being looked after.
With support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service had been running a confidence-building course for women carers from the Asian community in Blackburn and Darwen.
The loneliness and demands of the caring role don't discriminate, however, there are additional pressures faced by the women who attend the group due to the cultural expectations.
During this confidence building course Blackburn and Darwen Carers Service helped the women explore these expectations and pressures, whilst encouraging the group to recognise and prioritise their needs. Learning about self-care, healthy mind, looking after your body and personal wellbeing, in a safe and friendly space has helped them to develop positive self-esteem and confidence, helping the women to cope with the isolation of the pandemic and to remain strong through the challenging times.
Kulsum Chisti, Activities co-ordinator from Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service said:
“As a service we aim to meet the needs of all. The Asian carers group was set up in particular to engage carers who were not participating in activities. Quite a lot of groundwork was done to identify why, and it came apparent that a different approach was needed.
“Providing a space for them, at a time that was flexible to their needs, with one to one support to help carers engage. We provide activities which were culturally suitable and inclusive.”
“Through the pandemic, we constantly adapted what we could offer, from phone calls, to self-care packs, Zoom calls to keep the women carers communicating, which gave us the results we achieved and I’m pleased the group has developed skills to be become more resilient.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said:
“I’m delighted that support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has enabled Carers Trust to support local communities across the UK during the pandemic. Ensuring unpaid carers are visible and valued, as well as helping them connect with others is extremely important, especially throughout lockdown.”
If you are an unpaid carer in need of support, or you know an unpaid carer who needs support, please visit www.carers.org to find local support in your area.
For further information, and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Matt Whitticase: firstname.lastname@example.org and 07824 539481.
Sophie Beyer: email@example.com and 07712 427808.
Carers Week is an annual event supported Carers Trust, this year falling on Monday 7 June – Sunday 13 June. Home | Carers Week
Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. www.carers.org
We do this with a UK wide network of quality assured independent partners and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives. With locally based Network Partners we are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks. We offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individual tailored support and group activities.
Our vision is that unpaid carers count and can access the help they need to live their lives.