For some people, being an unpaid carer can sometimes feel like a lonely and isolated role but there is help and support available in the form of the Carers Support Service.
Based at 18, Wednesday Market in Beverley, Coleen Ellis and her team at the Carers Support Service, which is run by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, are available to provide that vital information and advice and to ensure that carers are supported.
This week is Carers Week – an annual awareness event and the Carers Week quest is to identify hidden carers.
In the 2011 Census, 37,368 people in the East Riding identified themselves as providing support to another individual yet the Carers Support Service has just 3,566 carers registered.
The Carers Support Service offers a free and easily accessible service to carers, many of whom are family members but who can also be friends or neighbours.
People can drop into the centre in Beverley and speak with a support worker face-to-face or contact them via the telephone or email.
The team support people in a way that meets the needs of the carer. The support worker will discuss the needs of the carer, offer them a carer’s assessment and identify core services to support the caring role.
While those who do make contact are encouraged to register with the Carers Support service, it is not essential as advice and information is always available.
Through the service, carers can be put in touch with other carers in similar situations to them in the same area and referrals can be made to other council services for support around things like housing, money and benefit advice.
There are also monthly clinics for legal advice, which may include Lasting Power of Attorney and wills.
The service can also provide other services such as a carer’s passport to leisure card which gives discounts at council-run leisure centres; puts carers in touch with health trainers to encourage lifestyle changes, help arrange short breaks for carers, plan for emergency situations and for those who are eligible, carer relief sitting services.
Team manager Coleen Ellis, said: “There are so many unpaid carers in the East Riding who do a valuable job. We need to ensure carers are recognised, valued and supported.
“We know sometimes it can be difficult and asking for support does not mean people can’t cope.
“Carers should be recognised as individuals with their own needs. Our support workers can help carers to cope with, and manage, sensitive and sometimes complicated issues.
“We are able to offer that bit of information, advice, guidance and support to assist carers in their role.”
Carers are encouraged to complete a carer’s assessment, which takes the form of a very short questionnaire.
“The assessment really isn’t anything to worry about,” Coleen explained.
“It is just a series of questions which takes place within a conversation to establish existing support and additional support that may be needed.
“This enables us to make sure we are identifying the strengths and needs of the carer and to see if there’s any help they are entitled to that they may not know about.
“The assessment helps us ensure we are meeting our duty to them and also potentially identify existing resources that may be helpful.”
“Once registered with us, it’s the carer who decides how much involvement they have with us.
“We have some carers who speak to us on a regular basis while others may get in touch every couple of months or once or twice a year.
“The important thing is that they know we are here should they need anything.
“Our service is not intrusive – we are guided by the carers and what they feel they may need to assist them within the caring role and provide information, advice and the support required to make informed choices.”
Councillor Richard Harrap, portfolio holder for adult and carer services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The Carers Support Service do a fantastic job in providing help, advice and support to all those unpaid carers who do a marvellous job.
“I would urge anyone who is an unpaid carer to register with the service so they can be sure to get the support they need so they don’t feel alone or isolated.”
The Carers Support Service is based at 18, Wednesday Market, Beverley, HU17 0DJ and can be contacted by ringing 0800 917 6844, which is free from a landline, by phoning (01482) 396500 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
People can also call into the carers centre on Mondays-Thursdays between 9.30am-4.30pm and Fridays between 9.30am-4pm. No appointments are necessary.
* The role of unpaid carers throughout the East Riding is to be celebrated with a special thanksgiving service at Beverley Minster.
The annual carer’s service of thanksgiving is organised by the Carers Advisory Group and will take place on Wednesday, 2 July starting at 1pm.
Carers, past and present; the people they care for, along with friends, family and neighbours are invited to attend the service, wich is expected to last for around an hour.
There will be designated disabled car parking in the Minster car park.
* Out of of 3,566 registered carers across the whole of East Yorkshire, there are 325 carers registered with the Carers Support Service from the West Wolds area, which covers the Pocklington and Market Weighton area.
* There are 876 carers registered with the Carers Support Service from the Driffield and Bridlington area.
* There are 564 carers registered with the Carers Support Service from the Beverley area.