Support still available for Wandsworth army of unpaid carers

Published: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Wandsworth’s army of unpaid carers are being reassured that support is still available during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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A survey published by Carers UK on April 23 showed that 70 per cent of UK carers are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Day centre staff are maintaining contact with service users online, and many are delivering food and helping with shopping and collecting medicine.  But despite these efforts the lockdown means many carers no longer get a break.

The council commissions Wandsworth Carers’ Centre to support carers and recognises that this help is now more important than ever. The centre has more than 4,600 unpaid carers on its books and is always keen to hear from people who think they may be carers.

Social distancing means face-to-face contact has been massively scaled back and the majority of support is focused on the most vulnerable carers online and via telephone and email.

To help carers, some of whom have physical disabilities themselves, buy groceries, Wandsworth Council has also been working with local community stores to set up a click and collect scheme and will share the list of participating shops with the carers’ centre. A list of stores across the borough have signed up and will deliver fresh foods, groceries, spices, cleaning products and toiletries.

The carers’ centre is now also offering health and wellbeing sessions online including:

  • Gentle introduction to staying healthy at home
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity & exercise
  • Stress management
  • Relaxation

 It is also developing further online resources including yoga classes and peer support groups and is working in partnership with Talk Wandsworth on wellbeing workshops and Good Gym on support with shopping.

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Chief executive of the Wandsworth Carers’ Centre, Eglionna Treanor said:  “It is important that, in recognising the outstanding efforts of the NHS and other emergency workers, we also keep in mind the millions of unpaid carers across the country who continue to provide essential support for friends, families and loved ones. Indeed, many more of us are finding ourselves in a caring role during this time – either directly because of the virus or through supporting those in high-risk categories.

“As an organisation, we are still open and adapting to the situation – delivering advice and guidance via telephone and email wherever we can and introducing video-link support groups. Likewise, our team are working hard to ensure those carers without digital access still get the help they need.”

Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health Cllr Melanie Hampton said: “I’d like to thank the carers’ centre for their efforts to continue to support carers through this crisis, as well as all the adult social care staff who are reaching out to people by phone and online.

“More people than ever would now be classified as unpaid carers and are entitled to support. Please contact the carers’ centre or the council to find out how we can help.”

Call the Wandsworth Carers’ Centre on 020 8877 1200

Contact the Wandsworth Community Hub on 020 8871 6555