5 May 2017

Care for the Carers is getting ready to celebrate Carers Week 2017, a national awareness campaign which will take place from Monday 12 to Sunday 18 June.

The charity, which supports unpaid East Sussex carers, is joining the national campaign to recognise the vital contribution that carers throughout the county make to their families and communities.

The theme of this year’s campaign is Building Carer Friendly Communities – places that recognise unpaid carers and help them feel supported to look after their family or friends. An example of this is a GP practice offering appointment times that fit around someone’s caring responsibilities, or an employer that supports flexible working hours.

Chris Raeburn, an Eastbourne-based carer who, along with wife, cared for his disabled son, explained that carer friendly communities are “absolutely vital”.

He said, “Being a carer can be very lonely, especially when you’re up at 3.00am in the morning and it’s you and the person you care for against the world. When you’re out in the street with the person you care for and someone smiles at you or talks to you, it can help make you feel less lonely.

“More importantly though, it’s about getting the support from professionals and if the needs of the person you’re caring for are not being met, your job can become very difficult. Also, professionals, especially doctors, should know you’re a carer and anticipate your needs, such as offering appointments that work around your caring responsibilities.

Bexhill carer Linda Seddon added: “It’s really important that carers know they are not alone and that they are recognised. I have a supportive GP, which is really important as it can really help to have someone to talk to and who can refer you to organisations like Care for the Carers.”

Marilyn Wright, who also lives in Bexhill and cared for her mother for 10 years, said that her employer, Bexhill College, had been “brilliant”. She said: “If I needed to change an appointment they were extremely flexible and they have been very supportive.”

One in eight adults in the UK are carers and the annual campaign is about raising awareness of caring, with thousands of individuals and organisations coming together to organise activities and events throughout the country.

Jennifer Twist, Chief Executive Officer at Care for the Carers, said: “There are an estimated 65,000 unpaid carers in East Sussex and Carers Week is a great opportunity to recognise the brilliant work they do and raise awareness of the challenges they face. No one should be left to care alone, which is why we are calling on local communities to help make East Sussex a carer friendly county.”

“Get in contact with us to find out how you or your business can help support local carers, and to find out how you can get involved in helping us celebrate Carers Week 2017.”

There is lots throughout East Sussex during Carers Week, so make sure you know what’s happening in your area by checking out Care for the Carers event calendar.