YOUNG and old carers across Sunderland are in the spotlight this week as an annual awareness week gets underway.
Carers Week kicks off yesterday with an awards ceremony at the Stadium of Light.
The annual event is held to raise awareness of the selfless contribution to other people’s lives and the support network in place to help thousand who care for others across the city.
One of them, Sylvia White, who cares for her husband who has osteoarthritis and limited mobility and was told about Sunderland Carers’ Centre by her GP and joined a Caring with Confidence course.
“I no longer feel alone,” she said. “I feel a lot happier now that I have met other carers. It’s something to look forward to.”
Another to receive support from the Carers Centre for a number of years is Jeff Pounder who cares for his son Stephen who has spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
Jeff and his family have been helped to take a break through the Carers Breaks and Opportunities Scheme and Jeff also attends the Caring with Confidence course.
“If you need help it is just a phone call away,” he said. “I would certainly recommend the Caring with Confidence course. It is helpful to meet other carers. Although we care for people with different conditions we all have common ground. We exchange information, views and ideas. You feel comforted knowing that people are there to listen.”
Events later this week include a day trip to York with 60 carers who will be taking a well-deserved break from their caring responsibilities to have a day to themselves and the opportunity to meet other carers.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Bob Heron said: “There are over 32,000 carers in the city looking after family members, friends and neighbours who could not manage alone because of their frailty, illness or disability.
“During my year as Mayor I have had many opportunities to speak to carers of all ages. It is important to recognise and value the contribution carers make to our communities.
“We encourage carers to contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre which is supported by Sunderland City Council and provides a confidential information, advice and support service to carers across the city.”
Throughout the week Sunderland Carers’ Centre will be working in partnership with other organisations to raise awareness about carers and to help identify carers. There will be information stalls in selected Sainsbury’s stores across Wearside and in some GP practices.