Unpaid carers in Monmouthshire have been sharing their experiences of caring for a loved one and have called to make caring visible and valued at the start of Carers Week 2021. It comes as Monmouthshire County Council invites health and care services, schools, employers and businesses across the community to recognise the vital contribution made by unpaid carers in the county.

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the UK’s unpaid carers who support family members and friends who are older, have a disability, mental or physical illness.

The council is supporting the campaign by highlighting the phenomenal work carried out by carers with a series of videos and social media content featuring carers and their loved ones. Rev. Canon Jeremy Harris is just one of hundreds of unpaid carers in Monmouthshire. He has shared his story of caring for his mother who has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s a caring role Jeremy carries out alongside his work as a Priest at St Mary’s Church in Magor.

He hopes Carers Week will raise awareness of the contributions of unpaid carers and also highlight the help and support available. He said: “It’s important to make sure the carers are looked after and supported, and to realise there is help out there. It’s important we recognise that caring role and ask for the help when we need it.”

As a young carer, 16-year-old Amelie supports her young brother Jacques who has Down Syndrome and shared her story with Monmouthshire County Council in 2020. While being a young carer has many challenges, Amelie is keen to highlight how important unpaid carers are in the lives of people they support.

Amelie said: “One of my favourite things about caring is the bond that I’ve got with my brother, It is a bond that is inseparable. I love him with all of me. I think it’s important that young carers are spoken about and that people are made aware of what young carers do because we do as much as paid carers and there’s a lot that people don’t see.”

Councillor Penny Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health said: “Carers play a vital role in supporting our most vulnerable residents and it’s important we recognise their contributions, not only during Carers Week, but throughout the year. It’s also important for those in caring roles to know there is help and support available and no one should ever feel alone in having to look after a loved one.”

For Carers Week 2021 charity Carers UK is joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness to help raise awareness of caring around the country.

The six charities driving Carers Week 2021 are calling on individuals, services and organisations to do their part in Making Caring Visible and Valued – recognising the contribution made by carers and helping them get the practical, financial and emotional support they need to care for a loved one.

Hundreds of activities are taking place across the country during Carers Week and many people have Added Their Voice on the Carers Week website to make caring visible this year. To find out more about activities in Monmouthshire visit: https://www.carersweek.org/

Amelie and Jeremy’s stories will also feature on Monmouthshire County Council’s social media pages across Carers Week.

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