Copeland MP Trudy Harrison has been hearing about the vital work of West Cumbria Carers – helping and supporting people in the community – to raise awareness of Carers Week.
The 2019 campaign – which runs this week – highlights the challenges unpaid carers face, recognises the contribution they make and also promotes the help available to them.
West Cumbria Carers, which operates across Copeland and Allerdale, is currently helping to support 1,900 adult carers and 300 young carers – some aged as young as five.
It offers help including driving carers to health appointments, providing volunteers to sit with people which allows their carers to go out and also offers help accessing advice, information and services.
The group, which has 122 volunteers, is also running a Championing Working Carers scheme with local employers to support people who work and also care for someone.
Andrea Carlton, a senior support worker, said: “Social isolation both for the carer and the cared for person is huge. We try to get people to come to us before their situation reaches crisis point. There’s a lot of people aged between 45-65 who are at the peak of their careers that are also in a caring role.”
And Angela Longrigg, volunteer and projects coordinator, said: “We also have many ‘sandwich carers’ people who have young children and are also caring for a parent. They have no time for themselves and tend to put their own health at the bottom of the list.”
Trudy, who has experience of working as a home carer, said: “I think the work of West Cumbria Carers is vital, they offer a lifeline to so many people in our area and help them to cope in what can be very stressful situations. And the volunteers who give their time for free should be applauded.”
To mark Carers Week, the charity is holding a number of events including Cupcakes 4 Carers on Wednesday at Lakeland Business Park, Cockermouth and a Pyjama Day on Friday encouraging people to wear their pyjamas to work and raise funds.