Organisations set out their stall in an event to try to reach the thousands of ‘hidden’ carers in Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Carers organised the event at the town’s Centre for Independent Living to raise awareness of the support available to anyone who looks after a friend or loved one.
Latest census figures indicate there are 12,000 people in Hartlepool who perform a caring role.
But only a small fraction – around 1,200 – are known to Hartlepool Carers, a charity based in Lowthian Road.
The information event brought together charities, private companies and the local authority all under one roof to help spread the word about what support is out there.
It was part of National Carers Week which this year had the theme of ‘connecting communities’.
Christine Fewster, chief executive of Hartlepool Carers, said: “What we find is a lot of people don’t realise they are carers because it is their mam, dad husband, wife or whatever.
“They don’t always realise what they are entitled to and what support is available to them. People think they need to be paid.
“That is the barrier we are trying to overcome. We are working with only a small minority of carers in Hartlepool.
“We know there are 10,000 adult carers and 2,000 young carers.
“That is a huge gap and why we wanted to open today up to the whole community to help raise awareness.”
The information event was supported by organisations including Hartlepool Borough Council, the Hospital of God, Families First, Independency Complaints Advocacy, disability support company Incontrol-able, and domiciliary care providers Dale Care, to name a few.
Lunch was laid on for visitors and a children’s entertainer kept youngsters amused.
Christine added: “It went really well, people have had a lot of positive things to say.
“They said they found out information they didn’t know was available and we have had a lot of new registrations.”
Hartlepool Carers held over 25 events during National Carers Week.
The last is a family picnic with African drumming, live music and circus skills in Ward Jackson Park, on Saturday, June 15, at 11am-1pm.
All are welcome and it is just £1 per person.
For more information about Hartlepool Carers call (01429) 283095.