Caring can be as rewarding as it is challenging. Right now, many unpaid carers are dealing with even greater challenges as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect all our lives. This year’s Carers Week: Make Caring Visible, throws that fact into sharp relief.

There are around 6.5 million people caring for relatives, friends and loved ones who may be disabled, ill or elderly. Most people don’t expect to become carers. However, there is a 50:50 chance any one of us could find ourselves playing such roles by the time we’re 50.

Caring can impact on all aspects of normal life, from relationships and health, to finances and work, to education and training. Inevitably, the pandemic makes these and other circumstances more difficult to navigate.

Now, more than ever, carers must be recognised for the difficulties they face, respected for their commitment and energy, and provided with information, support and understanding to keep themselves safe, well and happy.

But there is a problem with this aspiration – a lack of awareness in wider society of the incredible service they give so willingly and unconditionally. That’s why I want to use Carers Week to shine a spotlight on their amazing kindness, dedication and selflessness and Make Caring Visible to many more friends, families and employers.

Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important, rewarding and positive things they can do, doing so without the right information and support makes day to day tasks much tougher.

That is why I want to mention some major pieces of work my team and I have been involved in through our work on the Carers Action Plan, an update on which is due to be published soon.

These projects include supporting young, parent and ageing carers. The outputs from these projects will help carers now and in the longer term as they – and the rest of us – look forward to a time beyond the pandemic.

Written by: Anita Wadhawan