Hundreds more Hartlepool people sign up for support as Covid fears grow for carers
Soaring numbers of Hartlepool people are seeking support from a town group as Covid fears grow.
Levels of people who have officially registered with the Hartlepool Carers group increased from 1,500 at the start of the pandemic to 3,000 people now.
Three hundred young carers have also come forward.
The group’s community development lead, Sarah Rowntree, said: “We understand that the latest news around Omicron is worrying for everybody, in particular carers who may be caring for a vulnerable loved on.
"Caring can be isolating and lonely at times and the pandemic has certainly increased these feelings in many of the carers we speak to.”
But Sarah also had a reassuring message for the public, adding: “We will continue to follow government guidance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our carers and their families and modify our services if necessary as we did during the first lockdown to ensure we are still accessible to those who need us – whether this be via telephone or online.”
Hartlepool Carers provides information, advice and guidance for anyone caring for a loved one with a long term illness or disability, mental health needs, frailty or misuses substances.
“We also run peer support groups most days for both adult and young carers,” said Sarah.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen the number of carers registered with us almost double, with around 3000 carers of all ages (and 300 young carers) now accessing support from us. We do, however, know that this is still a very small percentage of the actual number of unpaid carers in Hartlepool.”
“We appreciate that many people still fail to identify themselves as carers, either because they do not feel they carry out the stereotypical duties of a carer, or because they feel it is what is expected of them when their loved one has a long term illness or disability.
“For 2022 our main aim is to continue to raise awareness of what a carer is so unsung heroes access the support we offer thanks to the support of local businesses, schools and wider community.”
Towards the end of 2021, Hartlepool Carers worked with Middleton Grange Shopping Centre to become the first town business to complete the Carer Friendly Business Charter. It also held a Carers Rights Day in November.
It is also working with West View Primary School and High Tunstall College of Science towards the Young Carers in Schools Award, ensuring young carers attend, enjoy school and reach their full potential.
“Again, we would ask other schools to get in touch to support this initiative,” said Sarah.
She added: “Carers Rights Day in November 2021 was our first opportunity to be back out in the wider community raising awareness of unpaid carers since the pandemic, with the support of Hartlepool Borough Council and other community and voluntary sectors.”
“We understand that the latest news around Omicron is worrying for everybody, in particular carers who may be caring for a vulnerable loved one.”
To find out more, visit the Hartlepool Carers Facebook page or call (01429) 283095.