Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates and recognises the vital contribution of the UK’s unpaid carers – supporting family members and friends who are older, have a disability, mental or physical illness or who need extra help as they grow older.
During Carers Week 2021, Gower College Swansea is inviting health and care services, schools, employers and businesses across the community to recognise the vital contribution made by unpaid carers.
The College has two designated student support officers for Young Adult Carers (YAC). Tamsyn Oates and Ryan McCarley are both highly trained safeguarding officers who can support, signpost, engage and advocate on behalf of YAC. Often, a student may be unsure if what they do qualifies as a ‘caring’ role, and Tamsyn and Ryan are here to help them access the relevant support.
In addition, the College is very proud to have achieved the Quality Standard Carers Support (QSCS) accreditation from the Carers Federation which is in recognition of the high level of support it offers to students who are YAC, which includes helping to remove some of the barriers that carers can face, developing appropriate policies and procedures and improving access to support.
The College is also one of the first in Wales to develop its own Young Adult Carer Policy.
Speaking about the accreditation, Student Support Officer Ryan McCarley said: “The support we provide can be as simple as just having someone to talk to, or it can be helping students to solve problems that may arise as a result of their caring responsibilities. Whatever support they need, we will do our best to help.”
For Carers Week 2021 charity Carers UK is joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness to help raise awareness of caring around the country.
The six charities driving Carers Week 2021 are calling on individuals, services and organisations to do their part in Making Caring Visible and Valued – recognising the contribution made by carers and helping them get the practical, financial and emotional support they need to care for a loved one.
On behalf of the Carers Week charities, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic unpaid carers have played an essential role supporting older, disabled and seriously ill relatives and friends, doing so most of the year on their own behind closed doors. They have forgone breaks from caring and much of the support they would normally have relied on.
“As restrictions ease it is vital that we acknowledge the enormous contribution that unpaid carers continue to make day in day out. I am delighted that many individuals and organisations are getting involved with virtual activities, helping carers to connect to others and access advice and information locally.
“Looking after someone can be a hugely rewarding experience, but it sometimes comes with difficulties, including getting the right support. This Carers Week I hope all parts of the community – family and friends, employers, businesses, schools, health and care services – do their bit to make caring visible and show it is valued.”
Carers Week will take place from 7-13 June 2021 across the UK. Established by Carers UK 27 years ago, is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, substance misuse issue, or who needs extra help as they grow older.
At Gower College Swansea, the support for Young Adult Carers is confidential and provided by our Student Support Officers, working in partnership with any relevant external agencies. If you are a student who cares for a family member or friend and would like to find out more on how we can help, please visit the YAC section of our website or email Tamsyn.Oates@gcs.ac.uk or Ryan.McCarley@gcs.ac.uk