Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Uttoxeter Echo. This column was originally featured in the 9th June print edition.
Throughout the pandemic we have seen countless acts of selflessness and heroic actions to support one another. Whether it was from the incredible work of our NHS staff, the determination to help others, as seen from the late Captain Tom, or the army of volunteers helping with the vaccination rollout to those delivering shopping and support to residents shielding in our community. Each of these contributions to our community and to the national effort against coronavirus are valued and recognised.
However, there are also hidden heroes, those whose efforts go on unnoticed. These hidden heroes are unpaid carers, many of whom spend a significant proportion of their life providing support to family members, friends and neighbours. You may not be aware, but in fact a tenth of adults in the UK provide unpaid care for a friend or family member, and these people should be supported in the invaluable work they do.
This week (7th – 13th June) is Carers Week and is an opportunity to raise awareness, highlight the challenges faced by unpaid carers and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities across the UK. The theme of this year’s Carers Week is making caring visible and valued. Across the UK, community events are taking place face-to-face and online to thank those who look after others and to offer them support.
Nationally, the Government introduced a Carers Strategy to look at what more can be done to support existing and future carers. After a lengthy consultation with carers themselves, the Government announced a two-year programme of support. This includes support for young carers, effective action to help carers balancing their caring and employment responsibilities and ensuring that health and social care services are responsive to their needs.
Locally, we must do all we can to highlight and recognise the work of our hidden heroes in our community. If you know an unpaid carer in Burton and Uttoxeter, let me know, I would love to hear about them so we can make sure that their contribution does not go unrecognised. Thank you, carers!