A partnership between Monmouthshire County Council, the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations, carers, third sector bodies and the health board is to celebrate the vital contribution made by the county’s carers.  The Monmouthshire Carers Project will mark Carers Week (11th – 17th June) with a series of events including information stands and drop-in sessions at surgeries, a coffee with cake morning, spa sessions, a foraging walk and a concert featuring comedian Owen Money.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges carers face and acknowledging their contribution to families and communities throughout the UK.  Carers provide many hours of unpaid care so relatives, friends or neighbours can live at home for as long as possible.  Many have given up paid employment to provide support, with some on permanent call.  They look after people with a wide variety of illnesses and disabilities including learning disabilities, physical health problems, dementia, mental illness and autism as well as drug and alcohol addiction.  Carers accumulate valuable knowledge about those they care for so medical and other professionals can use it to inform assessments.

The Monmouthshire Carers Project has organised the following events during Carers Week:

Monday 11th June

  • Vauxhall Surgery, Chepstow (10am to 12noon) – carers drop-in surgery
  • St Pierre Hotel, Chepstow – pamper sessions for carers

Tuesday 12th June

  • Grayhill Surgery, Caldicot (10am to 12noon) and Trellech Surgery (2pm to 4pm) – carers drop-in surgeries
  • Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel, Llangybi: pamper sessions for carers

Wednesday 13th June

  • Plas Derwen Hotel, Abergavenny – carers coffee morning

Thursday 14th June

  • Forest Coal Pit, Abergavenny – foraging walk,

Friday 15th June

  • Monmouth – “Owen Money and the Wrinklies”

Heléna Herklots CBE, on behalf of Carers Week, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many events taking place across the country to support local carers.  Carers Week is an opportunity for organisations to join our calls to keep carers healthy and connected.  We know that carers often put their own needs to the ‘back of the queue’, often delaying doctor’s appointments or breaks from caring which could help them stay well.  So, whether through work, the community, school or university, at home, or among friends, we all have a role to play in helping carers access the support they need to look after their own physical and mental health this Carers Week.”

Monmouthshire County Council supports the roles and needs of carers in a number of ways through its carers’ team comprising four staff and a co-ordinator.  A recent example is when many carers said they struggled to provide continence care so the council arranged a well-attended half day training event, attracting lots of positive feedback.

Meanwhile, the Monmouthshire Carers’ Project has created two strategies – for adults and for young carers – both influenced and informed by local carers at specially arranged events.  The project encourages carers to keep in touch by registering for a bi-annual newsletter listing events, training and updates on legislation, discounted access to leisure, and much more.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health, Councillor Penny Jones said: “We’re pleased to participate in this year’s Carers Week celebrations and acknowledge the vital role of carers.  We will continue to work closely to offer our full support to those who unstintingly care for others.”

For further information about Monmouthshire’s carers’ strategy contact Kim Sparrey  (07971 603110). For information on local Carers Week events contact: Tracey Davies, GAVO, 01633 241553.