Carers keeping in touch during the lockdown
Carers Week (8-14 June) is a great opportunity to highlight the contribution unpaid carers make to families across South Ayrshire, and the challenges they face - even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have policies in place to help staff who have unpaid caring responsibilities, and the support we give employees who are carers has already led us to achieve a Carer Positive Established Award.
We want to do more to support staff who look after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner, so we recently launched our employee Carer Survey to gather feedback and suggestions on what else we can do to help. Employees and managers can also tap into our dedicated e-learning course, which provides information on the impact of caring.
Through the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), we're also working with the South Ayrshire Carers Centre to ensure all unpaid carers receive practical and emotional support. Although the centre is closed at the moment, help and guidance is still available over the phone and on social media.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the centre has supported around 14 young carer families with hardship payments to help with fuel and food costs. They helped Ellen, who looks after her grandfather and younger siblings to apply for a young carers grant. The family said: "The carers centre team have just been fantastic in supporting us all during lockdown. Thank you."
The Centre also carry out wellbeing checks with unpaid carers who are shielding, and ensure carers take time to relax and have fun, by providing art packs, virtual quizzes and other online events.
Janice, who is currently shielding, and looks after her 19 year old son who has additional support needs said: "Thank you to all staff for the support during this time, it has been much appreciated."
As well as providing practical and emotional support, the centre has produced a letter which carers can use as identification when they are accessing goods and services for those they care for.
Councillor Julie Dettbarn, Adult Health and Social Care Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "It's fantastic that we have been recognised for our efforts to help staff who care for a loved one, and we want to build on this going forward.
"Now more than ever, unpaid carers need to feel valued and supported, and we will continue to work with our partners to make this happen."
More information about support available to unpaid carers, including how to access PPE, can be found on the Council website https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/article/19523/Support-for-Unpaid-Carers.
To take part in some of the virtual events taking place during Carers Week, visit www.facebook.com/SouthAyrshireCarersCentre/