There are around 38,000 people across the county who look after someone. Yet in spite of continuous efforts to identify these people, many consider themselves to be primarily a parent, child, wife, husband, partner, friend or neighbour rather than a carer. As a result only 3,800 are known to Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire Carers Support. This is a recognised problem throughout the UK and the council is committed to continue supporting the identification of carers.
Herefordshire Council is encouraging people who care for others, to make contact with Herefordshire Carers Support to find out about the services available to them. These include training and networking opportunities, one-to-one support, a quarterly magazine, regular forums and information about support available from other organisations.
Councillor Nick Nenadich, cabinet support member for health and wellbeing, said: “21 percent of Herefordshire people over the age of 16 are carers according to a Health and Wellbeing Survey undertaken in Herefordshire (2010-11), yet only a fraction of these people are in touch with formal services that can give them support.
“This may be because they do not know that services exist, because they do not see themselves as carers or because they do not feel the need to ask for external support.
“The council recognises and values the very important role carers play in our society and signed up to the Carers Charter last year along with our partners Wye Valley NHS Trust. We want to make sure carers and their dependents enjoy a good quality of life and receive appropriate and effective services to help them become less dependent on intensive services.
“This is why the council commissions Herefordshire Carers Support to deliver a whole range of preventative services to carers. But we can only deliver to those we know about and this is our biggest challenge.”
Jacqui Bremner, director of Herefordshire Carers Support added: “Our message to carers is don’t do it alone! It might feel like you are the only one dealing with caring responsibilities but the experience of caring for a family member, partner or friend is very common. You are not super human and all carers need some support and backup.
“One of the most important things is to accept that you cannot do it all by yourself without serious risk to your own health and wellbeing.
“So we are urging anyone who cares for someone, and it may be a family member, friend or neighbour, to contact us on 01432 356068.”