Carers were celebrated, fed and pampered to mark National Carers Week (6-12 June), which was all about ensuring they are visible, valued and supported.
TuVida, Wokingham Borough’s carers services provider, organised a range of events for young and adult carers to thank them for their hard work and raise awareness of the support available.
One of the highlights was a lunch for carers held at the Bradbury Centre in Wokingham on Wednesday 8 June. This was attended by about 20 people, including newly-elected Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Caroline Smith, who took the time to listen to the experiences of carers and the people they look after.
Guests had the chance to meet other like-minded people and share stories while they enjoyed sandwiches, cupcakes, scones and fruit kebabs.
Celebrating selfless individuals
Cllr Smith said: “I was delighted to be invited to the carers lunch and meet so many interesting and selfless people. In a lot of cases, these are relatives looking after a loved-one and they don’t see what they do as being a carer, but instead a wife or son.
“While this attitude is commendable, it does not take away from the fact that all carers deserve to be recognised as such so that they can access help. That is what National Carers Week is all about.”
Cllr David Hare, the new executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “It was lovely to see such a good turnout for all of the events that were held to celebrate National Carers Week.
“Connecting with children and adults who may not see themselves as carers – and reminding them that help is available – is hugely important. It is only right that they had the chance to enjoy themselves and be put under the spotlight, as they are unsung heroes.”
Activities for carers young and old
The week got underway with a drop-in session at the Wokingham Charity and Community Hub, which saw a number of new people ask what help was available. Also on the Monday was an online mindfulness session.
On Tuesday 7 June, there was a coffee morning for adult carers at the Bradbury Centre and an online information session, while young carers went to a trampoline park and enjoyed pizza.
A guest at the lunch for carers on the Wednesday said: “Thank you for inviting me to the carers lunch. It was so nice to speak to everyone and the lunch was superb. I look forward to hearing from you [TuVida] about dates of future meetings.”
On Thursday, there was a pampering and stress management session at Earley CresCent Resource Centre in Earley. Many of the carers said they did not spend time taking care of themselves and found a massage or manicure to be very relaxing. Also on the Thursday was an online Tai Chi session.
The week ended in style for young carers, who were treated to a trip to Thorpe Park on Sunday 11 June.
Visible, valued and supported
Carers Week is organised every year by Carers UK and Carers Trust and this year’s theme was ‘Making caring visible, valued and supported’.
Unpaid/family carers deliver an estimated £132bn of care every year to loved ones and family members. As a group, they are known to experience worse health outcomes and are more likely to experience poverty than non-caring peers.
There could be as many as 14,000 carers in Wokingham Borough, but many do not recognise themselves as carers and this can make it hard for them to access support services.
A recent round of welfare calls delivered by the council’s adult social care team identified a total of 1,200 people known to us as carers, up from 580 previously.
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