Celebrating carers in Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Council, NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Waltham Forest Carers Association are asking the community to recognise the hard work and dedication provided by carers during Carers Week from Monday 8 June to Saturday 14 June 2015.

It is estimated that there are more than 26,000 unpaid carers (sometimes called ‘family’ carers) in Waltham Forest alone, and that more than 5,000 of those are providing more than fifty hours a week of unpaid care.

The work that carers do can range from helping an elderly relative with domestic chores, to full-time personal care for a partner or friend who has a chronic health condition or a disability. Approximately 10% of people in Waltham Forest are carers, however most are not registered as carers with their local GP.

Over the last year NHS Waltham Forest CCG, working with Waltham Forest Carers Association has invested in a scheme to give carers greater support. The pilot is being run in a third of local GP practices. If the evaluation of the pilot is positive the CCG will look to extend it.

It is important that people who are carers let their GP practice know so they are offered the support services available.

Dr Anwar Khan, a local GP and Chair of Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Carers are the unsung heroes in the community, going over and above their duties. They provide quality care for patients who are unable to look after themselves; often they have to stop working to look after for a family member or friend.

“The service they provide to the community is immeasurable. Carers relieve the pressure on the hospital system, which allows doctors and nurses to provide medical assistance to other patients.”

“As the commissioners of local health services we will be focusing on providing more support to them in the future. It’s important that carers register as carers with their local GP in order to access a number of support services available."

Cllr Angie Bean, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Carers in Waltham Forest do an absolutely fantastic job helping to make life better for others, but it’s important we recognise that the role can feel isolating. Working in partnership with carers themselves, with various statutory and voluntary organisations, we will continue providing support to these selfless individuals so they can continue caring, while also having a life away from the role."

To support carers and raise awareness of their work, Waltham Forest Carers Association will be hosting a number of free events throughout the week:

Monday 8 June, 10am-4pm
Information stall at Sainsbury’s Chingford (13 Hall Lane, E4 8HH)

Thursday 11 June
Special event for local health and social care professionals, “Sharing Good Practice: Supporting Carers in Primary Care”. This event will highlight the work that the charity, in partnership with NHS Waltham Forest CCG, has been doing with GP practices, and will encourage Waltham Forest’s forty-five GP surgeries to become ‘carer-friendly

Friday 12 June, 10am-4pm
Information stall at Sainsbury’s Walthamstow (112 High Street, E17 7JY). Carers Association would like to encourage those caring for friends and family in Chingford, Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow to get involved, whether or not they are currently members of Waltham Forest Carers Association. Everyone is welcome to visit our Information Stalls, for more information about the work of the charity and opportunities for unpaid carers to access help and support in Waltham Forest

Saturday 13 June, 12 noon-4pm
Information Stall at Chingford Village Festival (Chingford Assembly Hall, E4 7EN). There will also be activities aimed at carers themselves, including craft groups and an outing to Brighton.

For more information about Carers Week or support services for carers locally, please contact Waltham Forest Carers Association on 020 8556 0857, email info@walthamforestcarers.com or visit www.walthamforestcarers.com