To highlight Carers Week (8 14 June), former MP for NE Beds and Minister for Social Care, Alistair Burt, echoes this year’s theme, ‘Making Carers Visible’.
As president of Carers in Bedfordshire, Mr Burt said, “We are already in the middle of Carers Week, an annual recognition of the 6.5m unpaid Carers in the UK, run by Carers UK and a number of associated groups and charities, and supported here by Carers In Bedfordshire.
“I have had the honour of being President of Carers in Bedfordshire for some years now, and want to commend the extraordinary work they do to support some 7,500 Carers throughout the county.
“It provides advice and services across the board, and is a vital source of information and companionship for those who may suddenly find themselves in need, as well as those who need sustained long term care.
“Carers Week theme this year is ‘Making Caring Visible’, a title thought of long before we realised what the effect of coronavirus would be.
“This is because being a carer is too often lonely, and sometimes unspoken of by those who may not even realise they are Carers and have support available. Carers may well be holding down jobs, and have other responsibilities. They can be going to school. They can be stretched upto the very limit. Carers are remarkable people.
“I think the whole concept of caring has become more visible through the pandemic. Firstly we realise as a society how much we need all those associated with caring; the most valuable people in the country have turned out not to be who they thought they were.
“Secondly the suddenness of the change in the country, peoples worlds turned upside down overnight, vividly demonstrates the reality of a Carers world, which often has come about just as abruptly.
“I have met, both in Bedfordshire and while I was Minister for Social Care, many whose lives changed in an instant, after a diagnosis for a loved one, an accident or some other event. Our world is more fragile than we realised. We could all become Carers by tomorrow.
“And thirdly we have millions more Carers as a result of the pandemic, those who are now caring for people isolated at home. And for those whose lives revolved around caring already, the additional stress and cost of lockdown is having a profound affect upon their health and capacity to care.
“It is a good time therefore to think about those who may be caring. We could not do without them as a society, and if you know someone who is a carer, this would be a good week to let them know that you’re there for them too.
“Carers in Bedfordshire does just that, through an army of 100 volunteers, and this week is a good one to express your support for them.
“The Carers in Bedfordshire website will give some information about events this week, as well as of our regular activity to help across the county. Someone you know may well be helped at a difficult time if you tuck away our details.
“We are at our best when we care.”