This Carers Week we invite you to join Carers UK’s mission to help ‘Make Caring Visible’.

6.5 million UK residents are unpaid carers for a family member or friend with a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older.  Many carers feel isolated and hidden (Source: Carers UK).

Caring impacts us all

We each have a 50% chance of becoming an unpaid carer by the age of 50 which alone might make the issue feel personal.  But what really focuses the mind is the impact of caring on economic productivity and health.  People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled[i]:

  • 72% of carers said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring.
  • 61% said they had suffered physical ill health as a result of caring.

Everyone has a part to play in making sure carers can ACCESS support

Caring, especially now, brings complicated challenges related to safety, legal issues, the benefits system, or care services. Support and advice is freely available within charities, local authorities and local and national carers' organisations yet many carers don’t know how or where to access them.

Building a supportive community in Southampton

In Southampton there are about 32,057 unpaid carers[ii].  This year we are asking carers to identify the support around them and for the community to help them ACCESS it.

Reach out and ACCESS support

A

Ask for help from family members, friends and neighbours

  • Invite family members, friends and neighbours to help plan your schedule
  • Offer them the opportunity to share the load e.g. shopping, transport, washing
  • Give a copy of your schedule to family members, friends and neighbours

C

Carers in Southampton are here to help

  • If you have not already done so, request a Carers Assessment
  • Access free advice and information on our website and via our support staff
  • Request a Carers Card to identify your caring role to others and also give you discounts

C

Contact Southampton City Council to register your Emergency Plan

  • Ensure the person you look after has had an assessment by SCC that reflects current needs
  • Involve and name family members, friends and neighbours in writing your emergency plan
  • Give them a copy of your emergency plan
  • Give a copy of your emergency plan to SCC so they can help or alert your contacts

E

Extend your network to other carers to share advice and worries

  • Carers UK has an online forum
  • Many charities have online chat rooms
  • Support groups across Southampton meet up locally and others have online forums
  • Carers in Southampton run monthly lunches (in normal circumstances - currently suspended)

S

S

Speak to your employer (if you have one)

  • You are entitled to request flexible work hours and your employer must consider your request although you cannot demand flexibility if they are unable to offer you suitable hours
  • All employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work (unpaid) to deal with an emergency or an unforeseen matter involving a dependant e.g. due to a disruption or breakdown in care arrangements
  • Some employers have carer friendly policies and can offer compassionate paid leave

See more details here

[i] Source: Carers UK's State of Caring 2018 Survey

[ii] Based on 12.5% of 256,459 est. pop. in Southampton Data Observatory