Swindon Carers Centre is inviting people to recognise the vital contribution made by unpaid carers during the pandemic and beyond.
Carers Week 2021 runs until 13 June, and the centre would like health and care services, schools, employers and individual community members to take part in a fundraising walk.
The Walk A Mile event is held every year in aid of unpaid carers in Swindon.
According to the centre, there are 21,000 unpaid carers in Swindon looking after family members, partners or friends who need help because of an illness, frailty, disability, mental health or an addiction, and who cannot cope without their loved one's support.
Swindon carers include Nicky Probert-Thompson, who looks after for husband, Mick, and is part of the Swindon Carers Centre Cuppa Group – a group of carers who have met online to connect with and support each other throughout the past year.
“Until you actually care for someone, you don’t realise what a lonely job it is,” she said. “It is just lovely that you can speak to someone who knows what you’re going through, because sometimes people don’t understand what carers do.”
Money raised from this year’s Walk A Mile event on Saturday, 12 June will enable Swindon Carers Centre to increase support for carers at an important time, helping them to look after their own health and wellbeing alongside their caring role.
Providing round-the-clock care during the past year has been an exhausting and draining experience for carers. In particular lockdowns and shielding requirements have made it difficult for people to access their usual support network or respite breaks.
Anyone can take part in the walk, and the centre has issued simple instructions:
- Choose a route to walk a mile virtually in your local area
- Invite others to join - following covid-19 guidelines
- Set up a JustGiving page to fundraise and share this
- Get walking on Saturday June 12 or during Carers Week
Susanna Jones, CEO at Swindon Carers Centre, said: “The covid-19 pandemic has hit unpaid carers hard – many more people have taken on a caring role over the past year to help look after a family member or friend and some of these responsibilities have been very complex.
“Over the past year, unpaid carers have felt the effects of isolation, poor mental health and increased financial hardship. While lockdown restrictions are easing, the daily challenges carers face remain unchanged, and many struggle to take a break away from their caring role at home.
“We are delighted that Suzuki and Hyundai car dealership Pebley Beach will be generously sponsoring our Walk A Mile event for another year, match funding anything we raise up to £1,000.
"This is an exciting fundraising opportunity for us, which will make a real difference to unpaid carers in our town. We hope to see you joining us on Saturday June 12.”
Further information about the walk can be found at www.swindoncarers.org.uk/walk-a-mile-in-a-carers-shoes/
The centre's JustGiving page is https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/SCCWalkAMile2021