Carers don’t spend much time on themselves. During the pandemic, carers provided more care than before lockdown. The needs of the people that are looked after by carers also increased as their therapies and care could not be carried out which resulted in a general deterioration of their physical health. Carers report that their physical and mental health was and is negatively impacted by caring through the pandemic. Carers were seven times more likely to be lonely than the average person and the recent restrictions and shielding have stripped away the support networks carers had. Carers also report facing financial difficulties and feel exhausted to a level of burnout.
The goal of the Carers' Forum will be to give carers a platform to exchange information, make friends and have a break from the high responsibilities of caring. The Forum will be open to any carers from any of our three services, amounting to around 70 carers. The forum will take place monthly for 4 hours at a time with a minimum of 15 carers per session. The sessions will comprise of coffee mornings to socialise and get advice and signposting from our family support worker, outings, guest speakers, pampering sessions, twice yearly carers lunches and other activities. Salary costs £3000 Entrance and travel for 10 carers, 2 event/year £1000 2 carers lunches £600 2 guest speakers £400
We have set up a Carers Forum in the past, offering these services for carers of all our three services, where carers of our clients could meet for a couple of hours every month, to relax, chat, socialise and get to know and support each other. We had a trial run and obtained feedback via a survey from our carers, which was in favour of the carers' forum. We have a good rapport with our carers, we have a building to cater for the forum safely and it will be overseen by qualified staff who has experience in hosting this event.