The theme for this year’s campaign was ‘Make Caring Visible and Valued’

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

6.5m unpaid carers in the UK including an estimated 90,000 in Sheffield

The pandemic has caused an increase in numbers to these record levels, but as many people still don’t think of themselves as carers the totals could be even higher. We believe they should be recognised and respected for all they do and supported with information and understanding.

How we supported and celebrated Carers Week in Sheffield

Free 7-day Fitness Pass & Free Ice-Skating Sessions: We linked up with Sheffield Young Carers and Sheffield City Trust to launch a special 7-day fitness pass that provided free access to SCT’s gyms, fitness classes and swimming pools for adults registered with us. At the same time young carers (aged 8-25) being supported by SYC had exclusive access to a ‘free ice-skating sessions’ at Ice Sheffield on Saturday 19 or 26 of June.

Series of outdoor events: We arranged four outdoor activities. The weather was lovely, and with over 30 people taking part the reaction of carers was superb. The feedback was great with everyone keen to do more outdoor events, and it was good to hear a range of comments such as: “It’s good to see people face-to-face again and spend some time with other people who have experience of caring.”

Special Training for health and care workers: We also teamed up with other organisations to provide a free, interactive training session for practitioners in health, education, social care and the voluntary sectors. Over 20 health and care professionals participated in the training delivered by Nell (from Sheffield Carers Centre) and Laura (from Sheffield Young Carers). The feedback was excellent and will help increase understanding of carers in Sheffield.

How we promoted Carers Week to a range of communities in Sheffield

 Local Radio: We had five interviews on three radio stations during the week. One of the highlights was adult carer Noida and young carer Thomas on BBC Radio Sheffield with Paulette Edwards. Another was our Carer Adviser, Saphina Munir’s 20-minute interview on Link FM done entirely in Urdu. Thanks to Saf and the presenter as both did a great job of reaching a new audience and emphasising how important it is for carers to self-identify.

Local & Community Press: We had a front-page headline and a double page spread in the Sheffield Star on 7 June, which was followed up with another news item in the online version of The Star on 18 June. We’re also delighted to report a range of local VCF organisations included news of our activities and the national Carers Week campaign in their publications, which is a great way to highlight the contribution of carers to their communities.

Digital Communications: In addition to the radio and press coverage mentioned above, our campaign included three E-bulletins and many posts on social media that encouraged people to visit our website. We’re delighted to report the cumulative effect of the campaign meant the number of website sessions during Carers Week was 58% more than the weekly average for the previous month.

Our Chief Executive, Pauline Kimantas, commented on the week: “A big thank you to everyone that was involved with or supported this year’s campaign, as we couldn’t achieve so much without the support of partners. We provide a wide range of support to carers throughout the year. The activities around Carers Week were a different way for some carers to take a short but important break from caring to enjoy themselves. Just as importantly, the coverage of the campaign helped raise awareness of the contribution made by thousands of unpaid carers to help family and friends”