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Celebrating and valuing unpaid carers

holding handsIt’s Carers Week 2021, and the theme is Make Caring Visible and Valued. Our staff teams often work alongside the carers of people we support, and we see first-hand how invaluable they are.

This last year, more than ever, unpaid carers have faced huge challenges, with many taking on extra caring responsibilities due to the pandemic. Others haven’t been able to see vulnerable relatives. Our teams have been working closely with families to support them through the last year and help everyone stay connected.

Thank you for the music

During the pandemic, Nicola in Oxfordshire, needed to shield and really missed seeing her mum and dad. Nicola and her mum, who was a dancer, share a love of music and performing. In order to keep the singing going, the team supported Nicola and her mum to have daily sing-alongs on the phone or virtually. Nicola loved this and often laughed at the support team's efforts at singing!

It has been really important for Nicola and her mum to have these daily sessions and they have recently been reunited face to face, where happy tears flowed – and yes – more singing!

Shielding safely

In Cornwall, because she was shielding, Eleanor moved from her Brandon supported living house back to living with her family during lockdown.

Throughout the year, the family have been in regular contact with Eleanor’s support team and housemates. They’ve worked together to arrange online cooking and other fun activities.

Eleanor is a busy, independent person, with a job in a charity shop and a role as a Quality Checker at Brandon. While she’s not been able to do some of the things she usually enjoys, she has been attending regular fancy dress bingo sessions online, as well as completing fundraising challenges.

“I have been happy at home with Mum and Dad but want to get back to being more independent and living with my friends. It makes me happy to see my family regularly and I love spending time with my sisters.”

Art with Mum

Luke’s mum, Jenni, has seen very little of Luke this year and has written this honest and open blog for Autism Awareness Week, describing how they stayed in touch and how art keeps them close.

“Luke has no verbal communication and autism, so there had to be new routines – no journeys out for shopping and visiting, only a walk permitted within a certain distance from home and only for an hour. No family members to visit. Support staff having to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and regularly wash their hands. Luke reads much from facial expressions as well as listening to conversation, so how was he going to manage and find a way around all this?

“Manage he did, but only with the amazing support and organisational skills put in place by Karen (team leader), and her team… With routines in place and feeling so secure in his surroundings, Luke adapted well to everyone wearing a mask and learnt, like us all, to read eye expression and body language.”

Celebrating carers across Brandon

It’s clear to us that unpaid carers have and always will play an absolutely vital role in the lives of people we support. So, we’d just like to say how much we appreciate all that you do.

If you’re a family or friend of someone we support, we’d love to stay in touch with you. Simply sign up for our family and friends newsletter.