Coronavirus: Lockdown – unpaid carers are being reminded there is still help and support out there
Unpaid carers across Shropshire are being reminded of the many types of help and advice available to them, particularly as lockdown restrictions are in place.
Shropshire Council have recently issued a priority pass for unpaid carers to use while out on essential visits as part their caring roles and to provide proof if they are stopped during the course of their journey. The passes advise the carer is caring for a vulnerable person in the community who relies on their support. To access a priority pass please contact Margarete Davies, carers lead, Shropshire Council on 01743 255776 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crossroads Together,commissioned by the council to provide carers support services, offer a wide range of advice and support to unpaid carers.
These services include information and advice, social groups for carers, end of life care, support for parent carers and young carer services.
The organisation offers:
- Carer Support Line – The Carers Support Line 01743 341995 opens Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm, and is manned by a designated Carer Adviser who is available to speak with carers and other organisations and partners to answer queries and offer advice and support.
- Carer Emergency Card – The credit card-sized card can be carried by carers, and highlights that they look after someone who needs care. It contains details of whom they want to be contacted in an emergency.
- Carers virtual groups – Online groups hosted by Crossroads Together CarerLinks Carer Advisors, that can offer carers some much needed ‘time out’. All groups are free and include sessions such as‘Time for Natter’ ‘Mind Time’ as well as quiz nights and book clubs.
- You can find out more about these services and others here.
Mobilise Shropshire provides a range of free online support for carers, including a five-part email course; virtual cuppas; 1 to 1 chats; lockdown weekly planner; as well as up to date information on other support for carers. Mobilise Shropshire is accessible on low speed (dial up) Internet connections.
Mental health support
Carers may be experiencing anxiety or low mood around the current situation, especially with extra worries around job security, finding new work, their financial situation or issues within their family.
The council have recently published some really good advice on how to look after yourself during lock down which signposts people to a whole host brilliant resources to support peoples’ mental health and wellbeing.
For carers who support people with learning disabilities and autism
The council have also commissioned extra, specialist support for carers of people with a learning disability or on the autism spectrum from Taking Part and A4U, in partnership with STACS.
The three organisations will support in a range of ways to suit the individual carer; it may be by telephone, or establishing peer support groups through digital technology such as email, WhatsApp and Pen Pals.
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:
“We know the last few months during the initial lockdown and subsequent lifting of some restrictions have been particularly challenging and isolating for many informal carers.
“With new lockdown restrictions now in place and winter looming, it is important for informal carers to know what support is available to them and how to get help in Shropshire. Our carer support providers are available to provide a listening ear and support when carers are feeling overwhelmed or finding it hard to cope. We understand the isolation and stress they may be experiencing.
“We urge all unpaid carers in Shropshire to seek support to help keep them well.”
You can find more information on our carers webpages here, where you’ll find further information on support during the pandemic. You can also contact our First Point of Contact (FPOC) team on 0345 678 9044.
For any coronavirus related issue and enquiry please contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 0345 678 9028
To find out more about Crossroads Together, visit their website here.
With winter fast approaching it is important for all carers to make contingency plans with the person they care for to use in circumstances where help from other people to deliver care may be required. Depending on the circumstances, this could be from family or friends or a care provider. More information on contingency planning and a template for completion can be found on Shropshire Choices
Research undertaken by Carers UK shows that a high proportion of unpaid carers are providing more care for the person they support than before lockdown, and nearly two thirds of carers who took part in the research expressed worry about how they will continue to manage over winter.