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Recognising and supporting unpaid carers in the community

Posted on 5 Jun 2023

Do you look after a family member or friend who needs your support due to illness, disability, mental health, alcohol and/or other substance use, or who just needs some extra help as they grow older? Then you might be an unpaid carer.

You may have been caring for someone for a while, or perhaps you are new to a caring role. You may not even think of yourself as a carer.

North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (NAHSCP) and Unity Carers Service believe it’s important that all unpaid carers are aware of their rights, and that carers are able to access the right information and support at the right time.

Carers Week is an annual, national campaign that aims to ensure carers are recognised and respected for the contribution they make to families, their communities and workplaces. The event, which will run this year from Monday 5 June to Sunday 11 June, gives the opportunity to highlight and recognise the difficulties carers may be facing and provide relevant information and support to enable carers to continue to care safely, if able and willing.

Unity North Ayrshire Carers Service in Irvine provides support to carers from across North Ayrshire, including young carers aged five and over.

This involves providing information, the opportunity to apply for a break from caring, income maximisation, advocacy support, one to one support and peer support.

The service also offers the opportunity to meet with other carers in your area, as well as holding events, training and awareness sessions. To find out what activities are planned for over Carers Week, get in touch with the Carers Service by calling 01294 311333 or emailing northayrshire.carers@unity-enterprise.com

Councillor Nairn McDonald, North Ayrshire Council’s Carers Champion, said: “Through being a carer myself, I understand the difficulties in recognising that you may have a caring role. As a carer, you can sometimes feel isolated or even invisible to those around you, and this is why it is essential that carers are recognised and supported in their communities and know where to turn for the right information and support.

“Help is available, and you don’t have to do this alone. Having someone to speak to about your caring role or being able to have a break from caring can make all the difference.

“NAHSCP’s Carers Appreciation Card has helped to build and strengthen a caring community across North Ayrshire. The card ensures carers are recognised, provides discounts for a break from caring, and most importantly helps them to feel valued by their community. We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the local businesses who have signed up to the scheme so far.”

To find out more about the support available to unpaid carers, including information on the Carers Appreciation Card – which entitles unpaid carers of all ages to a range of discounts, offers and concessions – as well as a fantastic, free digital resource for carers, visit https://www.nahscp.org/care-support-community/support-for-carers