West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has teamed up with TV and radio presenter Jonathan Dimbleby to support this year’s Carers Week (8th - 14th June) and celebrate the contribution made by those people in West Lancashire and throughout the UK who provide unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled.
This year, the theme for Carers Week is ‘Carers… the UK’s secret service’ and calls for carers to receive greater recognition for the work they carry out, so vital for their families and friends, and for their communities.
Rosie called for carers to receive more recognition:
“There are thousands of people in West Lancs who sacrifice their time - and often their health, finances, work and social life - in order to care for a loved one. They deserve to be recognised for the priceless contribution they make, both to our local community and to society at large. "
“I am taking part in Carers Week firstly to express my gratitude and respect for our carers, but also to make them aware that there are services and support out there to help them. I know from my own experience as a carer that it can be demanding and difficult, so it’s important that carers know that they don’t have to struggle on alone.”
Rosie’s support comes as new research reveals that almost three-quarters (74%) of carers have reached breaking point due to the pressures of their role. The results show that the strain of caring is causing some carers such extreme levels of stress and depression that they are suffering breakdowns and, in some cases, even attempting suicide.
The Carers Week survey has also highlighted that that the vast majority of carers feel their role is overlooked or ignored by professionals (87%), friends (78%) and family members (76%). Almost two-thirds (63%) say that their lives are made ‘much more difficult’ as a result, with more than half saying that it has affected their health and left them worse off financially.
Jonathan Dimbleby, who has personal experience of being a carer, said:
"Just imagine for a moment what would happen if carers ceased to care and simply gave up. There would be no-one to look after millions of frail, elderly and disabled people. It would be a nightmare: chaos, panic and much worse."
“Of course carers would never behave like that. They are motivated by love, duty and compassion. But those of us who have been in that role, even for a short time, know how testing and draining it can be. That is why Britain's ‘secret service’ must not be forgotten, ignored or exploited."
Carers Week is organised by a partnership of 10 national charities: Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Caring for Carers, Help the Hospices, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Parkinson’s Disease Society, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Vitalise and WRVS.
For more information about local events and activities taking place as part of Carers Week, visit www.carersweek.org or call 0845 241 2582.