The contribution of Carers has been celebrated at a public engagement event in Newry ahead of Carers Week 2014 (9-15 June).

The event, which was organised by the Southern Local Commissioning Group (a committee of the Health and Social Care Board), invited carers, members of the public, elected representatives, individuals and groups from the community and voluntary sector, to come along and share their views about the needs of carers.

Those attending had the opportunity to put forward their suggestions for the provision of short break and respite services in the Southern area.

Hosting the engagement event, Chair of the Southern Local Commissioning Group (LCG), Sheelin McKeagney welcomed those who attended:

“I’m pleased that so many local carers have taken the time to come along to contribute to this important debate.  The Southern LCG is here to listen to carers and carers representative groups so we can better understand their needs and challenges and how best we can deliver services to meet those needs”.

Welcoming the opportunity for carers in the Southern area to shape the future of their services, Sean Caughey, NI Development Manager with the Carers Trust said: 

“According to the 2010 Census there are 213,980 carers in Northern Ireland with many more who do not recognize themselves as carers.  This number is expected to substantially increase due to an ageing population with research indicating that 6 out of 10 of us will become carers in our lifetime - that is a substantial amount of the population who will put their own lives on hold to look after someone. It is vital that appropriate support services are in place so it’s excellent that the Southern LCG is listening to carers by holding today’s event.”

An evaluation report on the event will be available on the Health and Social Care Board’s website in the near future www.hscboard.hscni.net.