Making carers visible – that's the aim of Carers Week.

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Despite the challenges posed by lockdown resulting from Covid-19, local organisations have come together to promote the message Make Carers Visible, says Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership.

Representatives of Support in Mind Scotland, Alzheimer Scotland, Relationship Scotland Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway Carers Centre and Quarriers have posed individually for a picture where together they send the message: ‘We are making caring visible’.

Larel Currie is Dumfries and Galloway Carers Strategy Commissioning Officer, and she said:

“Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid Carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities.

“We’re aware that there are many people within Dumfries and Galloway who may not think of themselves as a carer, but who provide support and assistance to a relative, friend, work colleague or neighbour who may be older, disabled, ill or needs support.

“We’re keen that those people recognise that they are indeed carers, and are part of a community entitled to support and assistance.

“So this week hopefully has two roles – to recognise, highlight and celebrate the incredible contribution Carers make to their families, local communities, workplaces and society, and to ensure that everyone who is serving as a Carer is able to recognise that and access the support they need.”

Carers Week this year particularly recognises the new challenges people are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with many more people taking on more caring responsibilities.

Normally MSPs would be attending the annual parliamentary celebration event for Carers Week in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament, but this year MSPs will be paying tribute online.

Finlay Carson MSP said:

“The work our carers have done across my constituency has been extraordinary during this crisis and my sincere thanks goes to every single one of them.

“We must recognise that many individuals have taken on unpaid caring roles during this time, whether supporting loved ones financially or otherwise and their needs must be supported.

“This week is National Carers Week and it provides an ideal opportunity to show our support for carers which is why I hope the SNP Government will recognise the need to ensure full resources are given, especially in rural communities which already feel cut-off.

“Our carers do wonderful work all year round and I will continue to look at all measures in which the SNP Government can ensure our carers on the frontline are supported.”

Colin Smyth MSP said:

“The impact of caring on all aspects of life should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year.

“While many feel caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated.

“It is vitally important that we recognise the contribution carers make to their families and local communities, workplaces and society, and that they get the support they need.

“Carers Week is a great opportunity to pay tribute to our fantastic carers, but I want everyone in the south of Scotland to go further and make sure we do all we can to support and recognise their contribution all year round.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the challenges which carers face and we must ensure those who have caring responsibilities have as much support as possible.

“In particular, many people in recent months will have found themselves with additional caring responsibilities which they have to balance with work. It is vital that employers listen to carers' concerns and help put in place the support they need.

“I am proud to be recognised as a Carer Positive Engaged employer. I would encourage all local organisations who have not yet signed up to become a Carer Positive Employer to consider doing so. The process is straight forward and ensures that employers review their practises to ensure they can properly support carers they may employ.”

Emma Harper MSP focused on the work of a Dumfries-based project, saying:

“Karen Wylie and her team at Lochside Community Centre have played a critical role in delivering care and support to local families within their neighbourhood during this pandemic.

“In normal times the centre operates, supported by Aberlour, Dumfries and Galloway Council and a team of willing volunteers. However, in this crisis they have demonstrated their detailed knowledge of the circumstances facing their community and have mobilised quickly to help feed families.

“They have also offered a sensitive approach with the lockdown restrictions challenging our basic need to connect and so I commend Karen Wylie and all her volunteers at Lochside Community Centre who have demonstrated fantastic community spirit during such a difficult time”.

To find out more about Carers Week, and to pledge your support, visit the website www.carersweek.org

Support in Mind Scotland have support for carers.

Guidance: www.supportinmindscotland.org.uk/pages/category/carer-support-guidance

Support Services: www.supportinmindscotland.org.uk/pages/category/carer-support-services