Carers who are having to overcome even bigger challenges than usual due to lockdown are being highlighted by Bath & North East Somerset Council during Carers Week 2020.
B&NES Carers’ Centre, an independent charity working with the council, has supported a number of young people in the district to return to school or connect with online activities after they became isolated during their caring role due to lockdown restrictions.
To mark Carers Week, which runs from 8th – 14th June, and to highlight the challenges unpaid carers face, B&NES Carers’ Centre is joining a national campaign ‘Making Caring Visible’ to emphasise that many of the 20,000 carers in the district have found their roles increasingly difficult during the coronavirus pandemic.
Others are struggling with a drastic reduction in their caring role due to being unable to visit their loved ones in care homes, putting them under additional strain while they adjust to life in lockdown.
One young carer who spent the first six weeks of lockdown at home caring for their parent was supported by B&NES Carers’ Centre to return to school three days per week, which the parent said made a huge difference to their child’s wellbeing and also relieved them of the extra pressure to home school full-time.
The Centre also identified a carer who was with a shielding parent and hadn’t been out for months, putting them in touch with activities they could enjoy online and to keep them connected with others.
Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “There is a huge pressure on carers at the best of times, particularly the many young carers in our community, but during lockdown the increased risk of loneliness and isolation can become debilitating and lead to ‘burnout’.
“The annual Carers Week is an important opportunity to remember the carers across Bath and North East Somerset who may not be particularly visible to others, but still need support and to stay connected with their community.
“There is also a risk that some young people don’t realise they are carers and therefore don’t access the much-needed support available.
“Thank you to the B&NES Carers’ Centre for reaching out to these young people so effectively and improving their lives.”
The Centre has also worked with Bath Philharmonia orchestra and other youth services in the South West in a project to benefit young carers who are currently shielding as a member of their family has a life-limiting illness.
More than 100 young carers will be brought together virtually through 40 online music-making workshops to improve their wellbeing through music.