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carers week - Putting Carers on the Map illustration for 10-16 June 2024

Unpaid Carers Praised And Encouraged To Make The Most Of Free Local Support

People who provide vital care for family or friends in West Sussex are being encouraged to make the most of free local support.

Speaking at the start of Carers Week, which takes place from 10 – 16 June, Councillor Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, said: “Unpaid carers play a key role in keeping vulnerable people safe and well, often in challenging personal circumstances.

“The difference a family or friend carer has on the person they are looking after is huge, but this can create an impact on the carers themselves, whether financial, employment related or on their own health and wellbeing.

“That is why it is crucial that people recognise their caring role and know where to go to access help and advice should they need it.”

Anyone who provides unpaid care for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without support, can be classed as a family or friend carer. This is across all ages, from children to adults.

If this applies to you, then you could be eligible for free support from Carers Support West Sussex, a local charity commissioned by West Sussex County Council to offer services for unpaid carers across the county. It offers information and guidance to family and friend carers, along with practical and emotional support. Carers can visit the Carers Support West Sussex website where they can use the handy Carers Smart Search tool to find information and services relevant to them.

Caroline Pope, CEO at Carers Support West Sussex said: “We understand that carers often struggle to find time for themselves and may not be able to contact services for information such as understanding carer benefits, or where to get a break from their caring role. 

“To give carers the freedom to find this information at any time of day or night, we developed an online search tool on our website, called Carers Smart Search. This tool makes researching carer related information easy and relevant and the findings can even be emailed to the carer for future reference. We hope that this simple tool will make it a little easier for carers to find the information they need.”

West Sussex County Council recently announced a new five-year contract with Carers Support West Sussex (CSWS), to provide help and support to carers in West Sussex. CSWS has expertise and specialist knowledge in supporting unpaid carers and strives to ensure carers are seen, heard, and valued.

Practical and emotional support to young carers under the age of 18 is also available and is provided by the county council’s West Sussex Young Carers Service: Young carers – West Sussex County Council

Carers Week is a UK-wide awareness campaign seeking to increase visibility for carers with decision makers, services, employers, communities, and businesses. This year’s theme is ‘Putting Carers on the Map’.