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Work of unpaid carers highlighted

Carers Resource Skipton library event

Events to raise awareness of unpaid carers have been taking place across Craven to mark Carers Week.

Local charity Carers’ Resource held dozens of events and activities during the week, campaigning for much-needed recognition and support for carers.

The national theme for the week, which ran from June 10-16, was “Putting carers on the map”.

Thousands of unpaid carers in Yorkshire are looking after family members or friends – and many don’t even recognise themselves as carers, or know about the support they can access.

Heidi Watson, CEO of Carers’ Resource, said: “We want to put unpaid carers on the map and make sure everyone knows about the pressures they face on a daily basis. 

“The most recent census figures show that there are over 45,000 people looking after relatives or friends in the Bradford district; over 13,000 in Harrogate, almost 8,000 in Selby and over 5,000 in Craven. Many of these people are providing over 50 hours of unpaid care for their loved ones every week.  

“In reality, those figures are likely to be much higher, as many people do not recognise themselves as unpaid carers – they just see themselves as a husband, a wife, a parent, a friend. But if you are looking after someone who could not cope without your help, you are a carer, and we are here to support you.”

Philip Smith, 58, from Steeton, cares for his cousin who has a mental health condition. 

Philip says: “I care for my cousin – I’m his only remaining relative since his mum passed away from cancer. He used to have a care coordinator who used to take him out and get him into a routine, but because of cutbacks he doesn’t get that any more. 

“I take him shopping, take him out at weekends, I help him clean his house and help him to work out his financial situation. It is tough because I’m having to deal with everything. I haven’t had a holiday for goodness knows how many years. 

“I had to go and speak to my company, British Hardwoods, because it was getting too much for me to cope with. They’ve been fantastic and they now allow me to take Fridays off to help me deal with the situation.

“It’s damned hard work being a carer. It’s a nightmare, but I love him to bits. Some people have said, you’d be better off walking away, but how can you when you love someone? My life has been taken over.”

Other events for carers included a one-off event ‘Enhancing wellbeing through better sleep’ at the charity’s Shipley office, an afternoon tea party at Tong Wellbeing Hub, and a Carers Week special at Girlington Morrisons Coffee Morning. In the Harrogate district, there was a golf special at Rudding Park, a parent carer walk at Staveley Nature Reserve, and a Mental Health Carers Group picnic in Valley Gardens.

In Craven, the charity attended Skipton Gala, there was a parent carer drop-in at the charity’s Skipton office, and a special wellbeing event for carers, also at the Skipton office.

The charity appeared at Selby Market, and Selby Carers Coffee Morning also featured Carers Week celebrations.

To find out more about Carers’ Resource, go to www.carersresource.org, email info@carersresource.org or call 0808 50 15 939.

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