A call to carers to tap into support, information and advice
Carers are being encouraged to find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to, as the council joins voluntary, health and social care organisations to mark Carers’ Rights Day on Friday 30 November.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help, as they grow older.
If you are a carer who thinks you need support, contact the Carers Centre on 020 7790 1765 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org . The centre, at 21 Brayford Square, Stepney, E1 0SG, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30-5pm, Wednesday 9.30-8pm and Saturday 11am-3pm.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We recognise the valuable role of carers across the borough. It is important that carers do not overlook their own needs, health and wellbeing. This Carers’ Rights Day, we are encouraging all carers to find out about and make use of the wide variety of resources and support that the council and its partners are offering.”
Caring is a fluid role and the number of carers in the borough can fluctuate.
With the accelerated population growth in Tower Hamlets, there could be as many as 25,200 carers in the borough, including 3,800 under the age of 24.
Thousands more people become carers but often it’s not something they’ve planned for. Carers often struggle to find the right information and support that can make all the difference when looking after someone.
This Carers’ Rights Day, the council and Carers Centre are urging unpaid carers to have their own needs assessed and improve their personal wellbeing by tapping into the wealth of support, information and advice that is available.
The range of support available for carers includes:
- Help with benefits and support to maximise income
- Practical support such as outings, complimentary therapies, yoga, relaxation and an IT lounge
- Support with a social care carers needs assessment
- Bereavement counselling
- Overnight retreats
- Training and courses to help carers confidently care
- Information, advice and advocacy.
The Carers Centre works on behalf of the council to promote carers’ issues; campaign for better rights and recognition for carers; and identify new carers.
All services provided through the Carers Centre are free of charge. Some of these services are available to all carers, while others are targeted at specific groups.
Neil Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of the Carers’ Centre in Tower Hamlets added: “This year, the theme for Carers’ Rights Day is ‘Caring for Your Future’. We know how carers often feel that they do not have a future because they are so busy managing their caring roles. As a result, many carers tend to overlook their own needs and we are encouraging all carers to make use of support and resources to prepare for their futures.”
Many carers can manage without help. Others may need support in their caring role. A carer’s needs assessment will help carers think about what they need help with and how your needs can be met. The Carers’ Centre will help you complete an assessment.
Carol has been a registered carer at the Carers Centre for six years. Carol is a multiple carer for her two sons. One son has a learning disability and one son has a mental health issue.
When Carol first came to the centre, she said she was lost, emotionally worn out, angry and was very frustrated by the previous lack of support.
Carol was out of work and was unsure of her future and her ability to continue in her caring role. The Carers Centre supported Carol in attaining the appropriate support for both her sons and herself, such as getting social worker support, managing safeguarding issues, benefit advice and claims, leisure activities and emotional support.
Carol has now gone onto educate herself and has achieved forty-two certificates including: understanding autism; data protection; photography; understanding recovery; challenging recovery; the Mental Health Act and poetry. Carol has become an accomplished poet and creative writer and has won an award.
Carol engaged with the Working for Carers project where they helped her write her CV and consider her career options. Carol also engaged extensively with the Recovery College and loves taking part in its educational programme.
She contributes significantly to her local community in a variety of ways, volunteering her time and expertise. Carol has become a volunteer helping the homeless at St Anne’s Church in Limehouse and a trustee for Outward with the role of advisor to the chief executive.
Carol describes her life as full, enjoys herself and feels happy that she has her life back.
Carly Dickens and her sister were unexpectedly thrown into the role of carer when their mother had a stroke in 2011 at the age of 48, losing her speech and mobility.
The siblings also cared for their great uncle from 2014 until he sadly passed away in July this year.
A council social worker told Carly about the Carers Centre and she contacted the organisation. Carly and her sister had a needs assessment in 2016.
Carly got involved in the co-production of the Carers’ Action Plan 2018/19 and in the redesign of the carers’ service contract awarded to the Carers Centre.
Carly is also part of an independent carers’ working group set up by the council to help implement the plan. The group meets bi-monthly to scrutinise services and encourage positive change for carers.
As a mother of two daughters, Carly has advocated for accessible services for carers with young children as well as for those who work during the day. From 1 December, the Carers’ Centre will have extended opening hours on one weekday evening and on Saturday morning.
Carly said: “The Carers Centre is great for signposting and informing carers about the support that is available. It also provides an outlet to meet others in the same position and gives us a sense of community.
“Last year, I went on a two day countryside retreat organised by the Carers Centre. It was wonderful because it gave me time to reflect, recuperate and learn positive coping strategies.”
Posted on Tuesday 27th November 2018