This Carers Week (6-10 June) Kent County Council is urging us all to become more aware of the issues faced by the thousands of carers across Kent.
A carer is anyone who is looking after and supporting someone – a relative, friend, or neighbour – in an unpaid capacity.
Carers can be anyone – older carers looking after a spouse, younger carers looking after a parent, or the growing number of ‘sandwich carers’ who care for both their grandchildren and their ageing parents.
It is estimated Kent has over 151,000 carers, approximately 10% of the population, who are providing vital unpaid care. Without their on-going care and support the impact on the health and social service system would be overwhelming.
KCC, with all of Kent’s clinical commissioning groups, recognise how important it is to support carers in their role, jointly investing £7.4m per year in carers’ services, which includes both emotional and practical support to help them in their crucial role.
Children and young people aged 5-18 across the county who care for someone at home who has a disability, long term health condition, mental health issue or substance misuse issue can get support, through helping a parent get up and dressed, doing the shopping or giving medication.
It could also be emotional support such as listening to someone’s problems and worries, giving someone space when they need it, or respite activities and events and in-school support groups.
To find out more or make a referral, family referrals are welcomed, contact the Kent Young Carers Hub on 0300 111 1110, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit for an online referral form http://www.imago.community/Children-and-Young-People/Kent-Young-Carers
Although many carers benefit from the support available across the county, we know services are not in touch with all carers.
If you are a carer or know someone struggling in their caring role, please seek support as there is much on offer across the county, including a listening ear, information and advice, urgent response services for carers in crisis, help to get people home from hospital and the offer of a carer’s assessment to link carers in with extra help and support.
One example of the type of support offered is the carers’ health appointment service.
This service provides a sitting service so the carer can leave their loved one with confidence and is available for one-off doctor or dentist appointments or for a course of treatments such as physiotherapy or chemotherapy.
The carers’ health appointment service (0845 900 3735) is free and available across Kent.
A carer who used this service, provided by Crossroads, said: “I am so grateful that my GP suggested that I make contact with you. I have depression and anxiety after caring for four elderly relatives over 20 years. Thank you especially for your patience listening to my concerns.”
During Carers Week, KCC is urging local communities and businesses to do their bit to support carers, by thinking about the services they offer and ways they can make their service more carer friendly, such as offering flexible home delivery, free entry for carers if they are with a disabled person, or different or flexible appointment times.
Graham Gibbens, KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “Whether you run a local café or work in the high street bank, there is lots you can do to help carers. One in 10 of your customers could be a carer, so consider making your business disability and dementia friendly as this will really help to improve carers’ lives.”
For events in your area, see below.
|Clinical Commissiong Group||Total persons||Age 0 to 15||Age 16 to 24||Age 25 to 34||Age 35 to 49||Age 50 to 64||Age 65 and over|
|NHS Canterbury and Coastal||20,864||448||1,204||1,338||4,939||7,737||5,198|
|NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley||24,717||533||1,319||2,171||6,856||8,756||5,082|
|NHS South Kent Coast||22,856||540||1,172||1,705||5,664||8,242||5,533|
|NHS West Kent||44,938||974||1,917||2,989||11,345||17,295||10,418|
- In Kent, the majority of unpaid carers (64.2%) provide care for less than 20 hours a week. This proportion is lower than the regional average of 68.1% but slightly higher than the national average of 63.6%.
- 6% of all unpaid carers in Kent provide care for 50 or more hours a week.
- Ages 50 to 64 provide the highest proportion of unpaid care for both men and women.
- 9,197 or 6.1% of people who provide unpaid care report bad or very bad health.
- 9% of unpaid carers are economically active. This proportion is a lower than the regional average of 40.8% and the national average of 42.1%.
KCC and CCGs have commissioned local charitable providers to deliver services to carers. Carers who want help and support can contact their local service directly. More information can be found at http://www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/care-and-support/caring-for-other-people/local-carer-organisations
All of the providers have events taking place across Kent: here are some highlights:
Maidstone and Malling – Involve Carers
Monday 06 June
- Connecting Carers Coffee and Chat – Carers’ Drop-in facilitated by peer [carer/former carer] volunteers – 11am -12.30pm Maidstone Community Support Centre, Marsham Street, Maidstone, ME14 1HH
- Crafting Carers – art and craft activities facilitated by peer [carer] volunteer – 1.30 -3.30pm Maidstone Community Support Centre, Marsham Street, Maidstone, ME14 1HH (Call 01622 685276 to register)
Tuesday 07 June
- Swim and Gym – Living Well Centre Fitness Centre – (already fully booked
Wednesday 08 June
- Carers Forum 10am – 12.30pm at the Grange Moor Hotel, St Michael’s Road, Maidstone, ME16 8BS – this is an open meeting. Carers welcome, no need to pre-register.
Thursday 09 June
- Carers’ Week Trip – Tenterden Steam Railway – places limited and must be booked in advance (Call 01622 685276 to register)
- Carers’ Zumba – 3-4pm Mu Mu lounge bar and nightclub – Week Street, Maidstone (Call 01622 685276 to register)
Friday 10 June
- Carers’ Meditation – 11am -12.30pm facilitated by peer [carer] volunteer – 1.30 -3.30pm Maidstone Community Support Centre, Marsham Street, Maidstone, ME14 1HH (Call 01622 685276 to register)
Carers FIRST in Kent and Medway – covering DGS and South West Kent
Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells
We have a shop all week in Ely Court and are planning events each day 10-4pm including information sessions, crafts and benefits advice and hoping to hold some consultations also.
Monday 6 June 1:30-4:30pm
Afternoon tea. Gravesend Community Room, Gravesend Library DA12 1BE
Tuesday 7 June: Picnic in the Park 12-3pm
Swanley Park, New Barn Rd, Swanley, Kent BR8 7PW
The person cared for is also welcome to attend this event
Wednesday 8 June: Kent Life Trip 11am-4pm
Kent Life, Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3AU
Afternoon tea included
Friday 10 June: Carer Information Event 1:30-3:30pm
The Meeting Place, Orchards Shopping Centre, High Street, Dartford, DA1 1DN
Friday 10 June: Tea and Carer Information Event 12:00-3:00pm
The Dining Room, Ellenor, Coldharbour Road Gravesend, DA11 7HQ
Carers support: Canterbury, Dover, Thanet
A full list of events can be found at: Carers Week 2016 Canterbury Dover Thanet
Crossroads in West Kent will be having stands at local Sainsbury’s to promote Carer’s services and we will be treating Carers and those they care for to lunches and pamper sessions at local venues.