A Swindon charity is calling on the community to show support for unpaid carers by walking a mile in the town centre.
Swindon Carers Centre is inviting supporters to join its annual Walk A Mile event - being held in person for the first time in two years - on Saturday, 11 June.
The event will take place during Carers Week (6-12 June), a national campaign to raise awareness of caring and highlight the challenges unpaid carers face.
Participants can also raise funds for Swindon Carers Centre and Pebley Beach Hyundai and Suzuki Swindon are once again sponsoring Walk A Mile and will match-fund anything raised up to £1,000.
An unpaid carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of an illness, frailty, disability, mental health or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. Swindon Carers Centre provides help and information to unpaid carers, including activities to give carers a break from their caring role.
Among those helped by the organisation are Leanne and Warren Anger, who care for their daughter, Lila, 11, along with elder son, Zac, 14.
Leanne, Warren and Zac attend activities organised by Swindon Carers Centre, enabling them to meet other parent carers and young carers.
Leanne said: “Not enough people know about and recognise the work being done by unpaid carers. It’s hard for parent carers to differentiate between being a parent and a parent carer.
“When it was recommended that I register as a parent carer, I thought, ‘Do people think I’m not coping?’ But it’s not that, it’s about accepting the support Swindon Carers Centre can offer which helps us in our caring roles.
"The team at Swindon Carers Centre are brilliant and we know that we can turn to them if we have any issues.”
In Swindon there are approximately 21,000 unpaid carers providing essential care, saving the economy £395m per year.
Susanna Jones, Chief Executive Officer at Swindon Carers Centre, said: “Caring effects everyone. It’s estimated that three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives and, if you’re not caring for someone, it’s likely that you know a family member, friend or colleague who is.
“Our Walk A Mile event gives us the opportunity to make caring visible, valued and supported, by inviting people to put themselves in a carer’s shoes to raise awareness and funds.
“We’re excited to be able hold this event face-to-face again and would like as many people as possible to join us to support unpaid carers in our community.”
The event starts at 11am from Sanford House, Sanford Street, Swindon. The walk is a circular route and will finish at Sanford House, followed by refreshments.
People can register at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walk-a-mile-2022-tickets-319649419017 or simply come along on the day.
People can also contribute via www.justgiving.com/campaign/WalkAMile2022, and a paper sponsorship form is available on request.
More information can be obtained by emailing email@example.com or calling Anne Saunders on 07435 961071.