Next week, starting on 7 June, is Carers Week! Carers Week was established by Carers UK more than 25 years ago. It’s an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Carers across the UK are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.
This year the theme for Carers Week 2021 is 'Make Caring Visible and Valued' and will be focusing on not only recognising carers, but also valuing them for the vital contribution they make every day. It’s a time to focus on the contribution made by carers, and how important they have been in their local communities.
Carers in our community
There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers - looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older.
Many people with MS will need care from friends and family at some point. Our ‘My MS My Needs’ survey in 2020 showed that four in 10 people living with MS rely to some level, on unpaid care and support from family and friends. And seven in 10 don't get any extra support from their local council or government.
Watch a video on our website from Keith, a carer, talking about his experience caring for his wife who lives with MS.
What we’re doing
We’ve called for UK governments to increase Carer’s Allowance, and raised it in questions to ministers and parliamentarians. Last May, we also joined with more than 100 other charities and unions to write to MPs, urging action to reduce the financial pressures unpaid carers face.
Caring impacts on all aspect of life, from relationships and health, to finances and work. Carers need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding.
We have resources on our website to help provide information to carers:
Attend a workshop, coffee or information session. Visit the Carers Week website to find loads of activities (virtual as well as face to face) you can go along to. Including breathing and meditation, benefits for carers information session, wellbeing, ‘mindfulness’ (men’s wellbeing), legal clinic, and many more. Find out more on the Carers Week website here.
Share our content. Keep a look out on our website and on social media next week to see how we’re working to make caring more visible and valued. We’ll have blogs highlighting stories from our community, and will be talking about the work we’re doing to try and better support carers. You can visit our community blog on our website here.
Show your appreciation to your carer or a carer you know, to let them know how valued they are.
We’d also love to hear from you. If you’re a carer, family member or friend who supports someone living with MS and would like to share your story, please get in touch here.
You can also speak to our Helpline for emotional support, on 0808 800 8000.