Peterborough carer urges others to come forward and get support
A Peterborough man who has been a carer for his wife for ten years is urging others supporting loved ones, friends and family to come forward and seek support.
Peter, aged 65 from Peterborough, was a ‘hidden carer’ – a person who may not recognise themselves as a carer, but who is providing support for someone because of their close relationship. For example, this could be an individual looking after a family member or a friend because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.
Peter said: “Ten years ago, I gave up my career to become my wife’s full-time carer because of the conditions she has. I was in a waiting room in the hospital and on the table there was a Caring Together magazine. I began to read it and it really was a light bulb moment as I realised that there was help out there.
“I contacted Caring Together, and they told me where I could go to receive support - not from a counsellor, or a doctor or anything like that – but by being able to talk to other carers. I went along to a session and have enjoyed going along ever since.
“The work that Caring Together and the council do in partnership really has helped fill a big gap in my life. It is so fantastic to be able to access others like me it’s such a big help and reassurance to be able to listen to other people’s experiences. You see they’ve faced something similar – you know you’re not the only one going through that type of situation. I would really urge people who are caring for someone to come forward.”
To help hidden carers access services in their local area, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council have an online Directory of Services which signposts carers to help and resources available to them in their local area.
Additionally, Caring Together, Centre33 and Making Space have joined forces with both councils. This is to ensure carers of all ages and from all parts of the community, are identified and offered help such as information, advice and support, including signposting residents to community networks and group activities. During the pandemic, these services have been adapted to include other online tools, such as Zoom to help people keep in contact with one and another.
Cllr Peter Hudson, Chairman of the Health Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council said: “We know that there are around 78,000 unpaid carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We are urging them to come forward and make contact to receive support and not be alone. Caring for someone can be very hard and the pandemic has added more pressure. We will continue to work with our partner agencies to do all we can to help carers across Cambridgeshire.
Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Public Health at Peterborough City Council said: ‘The pandemic has created many additional challenges for carers. It has cut many off from their normal support. Looking after someone can be tough at the best of times, but during lockdown it becomes so very much harder. We know lots of people may be struggling so please come forward – help is available.’
For further information on caring for someone and accessing the online directory please look here if you are based in Cambridgeshire - https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/adults/looking-after-someone and here if you are based in Peterborough - https://fis.peterborough.gov.uk/kb5/peterborough/directory/adult.page?adultchannel=8
Throughout the pandemic Caring Together, Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and their partner services have all adapted how they work to make sure carers stay connected at each stage of lockdown. Zoom has been used extensively to keep these communities together and, when allowed, meeting up outside, all keeping to social distancing guidelines, has been arranged.