Campaign to raise awareness of Sunderland carers
A week-long campaign is underway to highlight the work of carers across Sunderland.
The city will be celebrating National Carers' Week, which runs from today, June 11, for a week.
Wearside has 32,000 carers who dedicate their time, and often their lives, to looking after a loved one.
Whether they provide short-term or long-term support, these carers also save the NHS millions of pounds every year, easing the burden on an already struggling health system.
“It is a fact that the health service would crumble if it were to take on the work of the thousands of people in this area, and the millions across the country, who look after someone,” said Graham Burt, chief executive of Sunderland Carers Centre, which offers free, confidential support to carers.
He said: "Sunderland is a caring city, but it is also a city of carers. It has one of the highest percentages of carers in the country, most of whom are operating in circumstances that they did not expect or plan for and are doing incredibly tough and emotionally-demanding jobs.
“Providing care comes naturally for care-givers, to the point that many don’t even realise they are carers and that there is free help, support, guidance and advice available to them. It is vital that carers receive help, and that is where we come in.
"Our role is to provide the help to allow them to carry on. Everyone needs support, carers more than most. They’re unsung heroes, but even heroes need some respite. We provide that.”
National Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities.
Amanda Brown, assistant chief executive of Sunderland Carers Centre, said: “Far too many people do not identify themselves as carers, but they absolutely are. Mothers looking after children, wives supporting husbands, brothers helping siblings, friends looking after loved ones recovering from a stint in hospital."
It is estimated that 6.5million people are current carers.
Amanda, said: "So many fall into this category, but simply see their role as looking after someone they love, many cope alone, not realising help is at hand.
"Through campaigns like Carers Week, we want to educate people about what it is to be a carer and what we can do for them to ease the strain.”
Graham and Amanda will use Carers Week to bring more people into Sunderland Carers Centre, on Thompson Road in Southwick, to find out more about what they can offer. One of the main draws will be the centre’s first Summer Fair, which kicks off at 11am on June 16 at the centre.
Graham said: "We have organised this summer extravaganza to celebrate and highlight the role of carers and also bring people to the centre to see what we do.
"We work with carers from the age of five-years-old to 85 and recognise that one size does not fit all, in terms of the support we give, so whatever people’s age, we have the right support for them.”
To find out more about Sunderland Carers’ Centre, visit www.sunderlandcarers.co.uk call them on 0191 549 3768 or pop in to the centre on Thompson Road.