A new fundraising appeal has been launched by Carer Support Wiltshire and the charity aim to raise £30,000 over the next 12 months to enable them to continue supporting unpaid carers.
Most of us have found the disruption of the last year and having to isolate from family and friends very difficult. However, many unpaid carers faced additional stresses – services they may have relied on for respite care, such as day centres and personal assistants, were not available, and many were caring around the clock.
Judy Walker is the Chief Executive of Carer Support Wiltshire. She said: “Covid has affected each and every one of us, but not equally. As a group, unpaid carers have suffered greatly during this pandemic. They have had to isolate for longer than most as many are caring for someone who is unwell and medically vulnerable.
“We have supported carers with befriending calls, professional counselling and regular online support groups. This month we’ve launched our Caring Beyond Covid appeal to raise vital funds that will enable us to continue offering this support as we strive to move on and recover from the last 16 months.”
Alan Goldsworthy from Warminster (pictured) has cared for both his wife and also his mother-in-law. He said:
“Carer Support Wiltshire have helped me in such a number of different ways – helping me to understand what was available to help my wife and mother-in-law, and indeed myself, and providing a counselling package when I was feeling particularly low.
“I have attended a number of carer events, such as cafes, Christmas parties and summer teas. Through talking to other carers at these meet-ups, I was able to learn more about Power of Attorney, wills and wellbeing plans – all vital information for carers, as well as where best to go for available help and assistance. Now I am looking at ways I can volunteer and give feedback based on my own experiences, to help shape future services for other carers.”
Carer Elaine Lawrence from Warminster said: “I found the befriending service provided by Carer Support Wiltshire very helpful. Our caring roles can be so emotional and often overwhelming, so it is helpful to have an opportunity to chat with someone who understands but is not directly involved with the situation.
“The volunteer I spoke to had a very calming presence and it was good to talk with her. It was good to know there was someone to check in with me from time to time. I found that knowing someone was there in the background willing to listen to me without judgement and bias very comforting.”
Around 70% of unpaid carers provided more care during the pandemic than they had previously, according to Carers UK data. Over half said they felt overwhelmed and worried they would burn-out in the next few weeks.
The appeal will raise money that will be used in a number of ways to support unpaid carers in Wiltshire. £30 will pay for a carer to attend a cookery class to learn how to prepare healthy and nutritious food, as well as meet other carers in a similar situation to their own. £150 can pay for six counselling sessions from a trained professional.
Donations can be made through JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/caringbeyondcovid