Support for ‘hidden’ group

MP Sir Alan Beith  with actress Lynda Bellingham.
MP Sir Alan Beith with actress Lynda Bellingham.

THE vital contribution made by carers across the county is currently being highlighted.

This year’s Carers Week, which runs until Sunday, is focusing on issues such as how the current carer population is coping, how effectively the Government is supporting the growing numbers of carers, and whether the wider population is prepared for future caring responsibilities.

Carers Northumberland is the county-wide charity dedicated to improving the lives of carers by responding to their needs, informing them of their rights and entitlements and supporting them to access help for the person they care for – reducing the social isolation that so many carers feel and empowering them to have a voice.

Its information line offers a single point of contact for any inquiry linked to caring responsibilities. Staff work closely with specialist agencies across Northumberland and beyond to ensure they can find the most appropriate information and advice for their situation.

Chief Executive Sandi Downing said: “Caring can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be very demanding.

“This is why we’ve organised celebrations for our carers across Northumberland to help give them a bit of a break, but most importantly celebrate their role and give them some support.

“The celebrations are only some of many activities and services that Carers Northumberland provides to support carers who feel isolated as a result of their caring role.”

Other organisations are doing activities to support those who provide unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled, including St Oswald’s Hospice which held an information, advice and pampering event earlier in the week.

Backing has also come from Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Sir Alan Beith.

He joined forces with actress Lynda Bellingham at a Westminster event before Carers Week to raise awareness.

“Every day across Northumberland, one in eight people will care for a loved one in some form,” he said.

“This hidden group of people give up their time, sometimes their jobs and often make life-changing sacrifices to care for someone.

“Carers save this country an incredible £119billion every year and that’s why I believe as a society we must be prepared to care for our carers.

Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities – Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and supported by the Stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell.

For more details about what is going on across the region during the rest of the initiative, visit

To receive some advice or support from Carers Northumberland, contact its information service on 0844 8007354.