All about our Carers Week event Photos from the event Melanie Hawman, our CEO, introduces our Carers Week event that was held last Friday and thanks all who helped make it a huge success: "The event was opened at 2pm on Friday 16th June by the Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire. The afternoon was packed full of activities, information and relaxation for carers across Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Luton. The afternoon was a stunning success and we had well over a hundred visitors and over 70 people who identified as carers. Thank you to everyone that attended the event. A big thank you to those that provided the activities and talks and also to Tesco who provided the food for the buffet, which was thoroughly enjoyed by carers and those they are caring for. With so many unpaid carers it is difficult to reach many, but feedback from the 70 plus carers who attended the event showed that it was an extremely helpful and enjoyable event. The aim of the Disability Resource Centre is to provide a space where partnerships can flourish and best serve all that need to use services in the local community so we hope that you will all be able to join us on our next event in October which is for disabled people, their families and Carers. In the meantime if we can contribute to the work that you do and services that you provide then please do contact me via email at [email protected] Some information about Carers Week A carer is defined as “anyone who cares, unpaid for a friend or family member who due to illness ordisability, a mental health problem or addiction cannot cope without their support.” Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. There are an estimated 6.8 million unpaid carers in the UK and that is 12% of the population. Locally we estimate (from local government) that there are 18,000 carers in Luton and 28,000 in Central Bedfordshire. Around one in five people will become carers at some point in their lives. Hidden carers often spend more than 20 hours a week looking after loved ones. Without help and support, they can find themselves struggling with what can be very physical and emotional demands, trying to balance work and home life, and potentially risking their own health and wellbeing as a result. Carers are often elderly or frail and we work with a significant proportion of carers who are unwell and worn out caring for their spouse, or an adult child. In some relationships it is the child or young person that is the carer of an adult parent. In all situations being a carer can also be socially isolating as wider family and friends do notnecessarily understand the demands that caring for someone can bring. Carers give a vital contribution to their families and communities providing unpaid support for someone who is ill, frail or disabled. We value the work of our carers, who are quite literally, indispensable. So in Carers Week we have joined forces with 20 other third and public sector organisations to put this afternoon on to recognise and thank all of the unpaid carers in our community. On behalf of all of the organisations today I would like to thank the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and the mayor of Dunstable for coming along to support this event". Melanie Hawman Chief ExecutiveThe Disability Resource Centre [email protected] Working in Partnership with: CHUMS CIC – delivering a variety of mental health and emotional wellbeing services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including the Young Carers Service in Luton. For more information please go to our website www.chums.uk.com or call us on 01525 863924.