“As Chair of South Tees Carers Forum, I have experienced first-hand the incredible dedication and commitment of both unpaid Carers to their loved ones during the pandemic and the organisations across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland who have been working tirelessly to support them.” Declan Baharini.
The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for unpaid Carers and their loved ones, as well as for those who provide services and support. Carers have been sharing their lived experience to inform planning, decision making and activities throughout the last 15 months. Staff and volunteers from across the public, private and voluntary sector – providing health, care, education, employment, mental health, housing, financial services and much more - have been working together in new ways to meet those challenges and support unpaid carers, as well as planning ahead.
The South Tees Carers Forum and its series of task groups have been meeting since November 2020 to bring unpaid Carers and representatives from partner organisations together. We have agreed on future priorities, identified how we can better meet unpaid Carers’ needs, reflect their views and build on the breadth of expertise and experience available. This resulted in the Forum developing and approving a 5-year South Tees Carers Strategy (2021-26) to improve services, support, recognition and outcomes for unpaid Carers of all ages and backgrounds in South Tees. The detailed Action Plan that accompanies this, will build on the Forum’s combined expertise and shared resources to improve: services and systems that work for Carers; employment and financial wellbeing; support for Young Carers and those transitioning; recognition and support for unpaid Carers in the wider community and society; and improving research and evidence to improve outcomes for Carers.
Good communication is key to improving outcomes for unpaid Carers, to help them identify themselves and be recognised, to share information, advice and guidance and to enable professionals to signpost to appropriate and complementary services and support. We Care You Care is the agreed brand and one-stop-shop for information in South Tees for unpaid Carers, those providing services and support and for the Forum as a whole.
Carer’s Week is a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of unpaid Carers, recognise and celebrate their incredibly valuable contribution to both their loved ones and to society and get messages out to them about what activities, services and support are available to them.
The South Tees Carers Forum was established in 2020 with 100 representatives from organisations across South Tees, including Middlesbrough Council, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council and Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (who together form the South Tees Joint Commissioning Group for Carers Services in South Tees); Carers and those representing Carers; voluntary and community sector organisations and infrastructure organisations (MVDA and RCVDA); public health; primary and acute care; education; business; and housing.
Thank you to all the local carers who have shared their stories for Carers Week and supported us to make caring visible across the South Tees area, hearing first-hand accounts of what caring is like day-in-day-out makes such a huge difference to our collective understanding and also inspires other local carers to reach out to engage with support.
Thank you also to all local carers who are either known to services are not. You are all valued, appreciated and have the opportunity to access support such you require it. If you are interested in sharing your story please do contact us, we will continue to showcase local carers and services throughout the year and beyond. You can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Carers Stories
Local carers have shared their caring journey's with us, click on an image below to read the story in full:
Activities during Carers Week
Local organisations delivered a fantastic range of activities for carers across the South Tees across the week. Photographs have been shared with us depicting how well received the activities were by local carers.
Are you a local Kinship Carer? Kinship Active is hosting a coffee morning for all local kinship carers, providing the opportunity to meet the team and other local kinship carers. The coffee morning was originally planned for Carers Week however this has had to be rescheduled and will take place on 15 July, 10-12 at Stepping Stones, Redcar. Book your place in advance by contacting Jane- 07943865601 or Sue- 07943865596.
New research published for Carers Week 2021 highlights the impact of the pandemic on carers, revealing that carers lost, on average, 25 hours of support a month of what they received from services or family and friends before the pandemic.
72% of carers have not had any breaks from their caring role at all. Of those who got a break, a third (33%) used the time to complete practical tasks or housework, and a quarter (26%) to attend their own medical appointments.
Three quarters (74%) reported being exhausted as a result of caring during the pandemic, and more than a third (35%) said they feel unable to manage their unpaid caring role.
Read the full report, Breaks or Breakdown.