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Hounslow supports Carers Week to raise the profile of carers in the borough

This week is Carers Week and it has one clear aim - to make caring visible.

Published: Thursday, 11th June 2020

Helping hands

Other achievable objectives include raising awareness of the role of a carer and the daily challenges they face; acknowledging that carers are one of the unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic and that their caring responsibilities would have been extremely tough and isolating; recognise carers for the sacrifice they make to support their friends and family.

Carers provide unpaid care by looking after family members, friends or partners who are ill, disabled or having learning difficulties or have care needs due to old age. It could be a few hours a week or round the clock, in their own home or travelling to another household. Carers provide such an important level of care to the vulnerable members of our community.

Cllr Candice Atterton, Lead Member for Care at Hounslow Council said:

"It is very important that we recognize Carers Week. Everyone has a part to play in making sure carers are seen, heard, and understood and helping them to get the support they need to care for their family, friends or a neighbour.

"There are so many more things we can do - it could include an employer setting up an online carers' network, a GP practice offering an annual health check or alternative appointment times to carers, or a business offering special deals or priority access for carers. Or it could be each of us reaching out to our family, friends or neighbours, who we know are caring for someone, and letting them know that we are there for them too. Don’t forget, that carers may need support as well, and here at Hounslow Council, we have warm and friendly monthly (virtual) carer support groups (provided by Hestia) which give carers a break and a chance to meet other carers in the borough.

"Many aspects of carers’ lives are impacted by their caring role including finances, their own health, work, loneliness and social exclusion. The Council has a responsibility to identify carers and provide appropriate support to ensure they can continue in their caring role. Many carers are isolated and do not usually engage with the council, we call these hidden carers and coronavirus is an opportunity to identify those hidden carers through those needing support from the community hub for example.”

If you are a carer needing support, please speak to your GP or contact:

  • First Contact Team

First point of contact for social services, advice and practical support

020 8583 3100 or adultsocialcare@hounslow.gov.uk

  • My Independence

First point of contact for guidance and information on services offered by Hounslow Council, the NHS, and community-based services

020 8583 3942 or myindependence@hounslow.gov.uk

View a series of videos and online resources to help you in your caring role

Useful facts about caring from Carers UK 

Case study for Carers Week - Stephanie's story

Carers Week will be just the same as any other week in the year for Stephanie.  That's because she will be caring for her 31-year-old son George who suffers from a form of autism and dyspraxia. 

Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement and is associated with problems of perception, language and thought. In particular, George finds it very difficult to organise activities but he can complete tasks if they are broken down into smaller components.

Stephanie says: "We are very lucky compared to some caring parents in that we have managed to find George his own self-contained flat in the same block as ours, but that doesn't mean he can look after himself entirely.  Yes, he can be on his own, go to bed and get dressed in the morning but we have to make sure he is OK every day, make sure that he eats properly and we always have an evening meal together, although his support workers are teaching him to cook.

Although George no longer works, he can still go out on his own and does some volunteering on the river. He buys his own shopping and other essential household goods by using a connect card.  

"For someone who is so autistic, he is incredibly independent in that respect. He did once work in a car parts store but he can no longer hold down a job, and sadly has no real friends of his own.  However, he does go to the park and for walks around the neighbourhood.  

"His real passion is for trains though.  He absolutely loves them and because he has a photographic memory, he can recite great chunks of time-tables, knows every type of train, where they should be and on what line.  He has visited every train station in London. We've also taken him on the Eurostar to Paris which was a real treat for him.

"I have attended the Council's Mental Health Wellbeing Meeting as a Carer’s Representative and was able to bring forward concerns about how COVID 19 has affected those with autism. It is particularly hard for them to adjust to the necessary changes in their daily routines such as when certain foodstuffs not always being available in the shops they are unable to make alternative choices. I also mentioned how brilliantly supportive the officers from our Social Services team have been by regularly calling us to check on our wellbeing in these difficult times." 

Stephanie also attends a monthly Carers' Group for Learning Difficulties run by Hestia, which is particularly supportive for carers of adults with learning disabilities. She said: “There are many carers out there who do not realise they are caring for someone; help is out there, you are not alone, so I really hope we can draw attention to this during Carer's Week.” 

If you are a carer needing support, please speak to your GP or contact:

•          First Contact Team

First point of contact for social services, advice and practical support

020 8583 3100 or adultsocialcare@hounslow.gov.uk

•          My Independence

First point of contact for guidance and information on services offered by Hounslow Council, the NHS, and community-based services

020 8583 3942 or myindependence@hounslow.gov.uk

Further information on carers support groups  

Carers provide such an important level of care to the vulnerable members of our community; however, the reality is that being a carer comes with an increased risk of loneliness and social exclusion. 

The Council commission a local organisation, Hestia to provide monthly (virtual) support groups to carers in Hounslow. Our aim is to provide carers with a warm and friendly environment, and an opportunity to meet other carers in the borough. 

The support groups mean a lot to carers, it gives them a break away from their caring role and a chance to get peer support from someone who is experiencing similar difficulties. We also invite guest speakers to talk to carers about topics that they find valuable. 

It can be daunting for some carers to join a support group. You are not alone. Now is the perfect time to take that step as the groups are more accessible than ever, running virtually using Zoom so that carers can get support from the comfort of their own home.

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