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Looking back at Carers Week 2012

Note: We asked Carers Week Manager, Helen Clarke to share with us thoughts on her experience of Carers Week 2012. Following is a blog post contributed by her.

Older carers

This year’s Carers Week theme was “In sickness and health”

This year was my first Carers Week (www.carersweek.org). Carers Week is an annual UK-wide awareness campaign run by a partnership of charities including Carers Trust. I joined the campaign in late February and got stuck in from day one. Plenty had already got in motion, we had seven of our eight charity partners on board and Sainsbury’s and Skills for Care had agreed to sponsor the campaign. The theme In Sickness and in Health had been decided on and I discovered on day one that I would be writing up the findings for the report to launch the campaign – what a great induction to the issues affecting the UK’s 6.4 million carers.

Well, the next three months whizzed by. I travelled around the partner offices to introduce myself and learn about their work. In March I signed off on the Carers Week promotional materials and met with Sainsbury’s Diversity Champions to launch the new initiative for Carers Week which went on to see over 500 of their stores registering and working with hundreds of local groups raising awareness among their staff and customers.

Before I knew it launch day was looming. Having worked on another awareness campaign there is always that worry that there will be another news story that pipped you to the post and got the lion’s share of the coverage. The groundwork was all there, Bex (the Carers Week Media Officer) had dozens of fantastic carers willing to share their story, a report with some shocking findings and clear calls to action for government. We weren’t to be disappointed. Carers Week and the impact that caring has on the health and well-being of carers was right across the media, from the Today programme on Radio Four to Dr Hillary Jones visiting a carer’s home on ITV’s Daybreak. News items and interviews were taking place right across the UK and not just about our news story but also the fantastic events that all the local groups had been organising. Not to mention trending on Twitter (at number two for most of the morning of Monday 18 June, and briefly number one).

Carers Week is a well supported campaign which has many opportunities to improve the lives of carers. With over 1,900 organisations registering to take part and thousands of events taking place across the UK it goes a long way to raise awareness of carers and the services and support available to them. It also highlights what needs to change to improve carers’ lives – to inform politicians we took carers to Westminster and set up a speednetworking event which saw nearly 30 MPs meeting with carers working with Carers Week eight charity partners. All the MPs including Care Minister Paul Burstow MP left with action points and a clearer view of how tough carers find their caring role and what could be done to improve their lives. The following day we were in the House of Lords with over 20 Peers, more MPs and Fiona Phillips. We will continue to follow activity and announcements from government to see what difference Carers’ Week and ongoing activity can make to carers’ lives.

With every project no matter how large or small comes the evaluation. This is taking place now and it is fascinating hearing how local groups and organisations have participated in the campaign and the creative and imaginative events and activity that took place. It is also fabulous seeing the photos of all the great events and people taking part. If you want to feed back how Carers Week was for you and your organisation please complete our online survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CW2012Feedback.

Here’s to an even more fabulous Carers Week in 2013 (Monday 10 to Sunday 16 June).

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July 9, 2012 - Posted by | Health, Hidden carers | ,

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