Six major charities in Northern Ireland are combining forces for Carers Week 2016 (6-12 June) to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the 214,000 people across Northern Ireland who currently provide unpaid care for a disabled, ill or older family member or friend.

Caring can be a rewarding experience but without the right support many carers find themselves facing financial hardship, ill-health, emotional stress, relationship breakdown and isolation. The number of people caring for a loved one in Northern Ireland has increased by almost 20% over the past 15 years; with these numbers continuing to rise, it has never been more important to make sure carers get the support they need, when they need it. Carers Week aims to do just that.

Carers Week helps the public understand more about caring, highlights the challenges that carers face and celebrates the contribution carers make to their families and communities. The campaign galvanises support from all corners of society, including individuals, local organisations, businesses, politicians and the media. It will also be a time of intensive local activity with thousands of events taking place across the UK.

Continuing the theme from last year’s campaign, Carers Week 2016 will again focus on building Carer Friendly Communities – places that understand a carer’s daily reality and do what they can to make life a little bit easier for them. Carers Week 2016 is made possible by Carers NI joining forces with Age NI, Carers Trust Northern Ireland, Macmillan Cancer Support, MND Association and MS Society Northern Ireland.

There are lots of different ways to get involved in Carers Week:

Visit the Carers Week website www.carersweek.org and:

  • Recommend an organisation or service that is carer friendly
  • Invite organisations or services to take steps to become carer friendly
  • Commit to carrying out a change that will help your organisation or service to become more carer friendly
  • Join the thousands of people and organisations who have pledged their support for Carers Week
  • Run an activity or event and add it to the Carers Week website
  • Follow Carers Week on Twitter @CarersWeek and use the hashtag #carersweek
  • Like Carers Week on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carersweek and join in with the discussions