THE theme for this year’s Carers Week was Getting Carers Connected and Carer Support Wiltshire ran a number of events over the 7 days, all aimed at supporting and celebrating those who look after friends and loved ones.

The week kicked off at Savernake Hospital in Marlborough where carers were invited to find out more about new carer services at the hospital, which include a monthly café, information service and carers passport scheme. On Wednesday the same services were launched at Warminster Hospital and on Friday it was on to Chippenham Hospital. Carers at each event were treated to live music, refreshments, a free health check and a reiki session.

Reiki practitioner Angela Mordekhai, who donated her time to give carers a chance to unwind, said: “For the last 8 years I've been a carer for a disabled close family member. When you are a carer you focus so much on making sure that your loved one's needs are met that you can lose sight of looking after yourself. But we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to look after ourselves because if we become ill how can we care properly?

“I have really enjoyed being part of Carers Week and it has been so rewarding to offer carers a small opportunity of feeling pampered and cared for themselves.”

Tuesday saw the trial launch of a new carer café held at The Swan Hotel, Bradford on Avon, which was very well attended. A similar café took place on Thursday at Amesbury for military families as part of CSW’s Courage to Care scheme.

On Saturday CSW reached out to carers at Devizes Health and Wellbeing Day held at the Small Green and were at Grounded in Chippenham for a regular monthly café specifically for young adult carers.

Michelle Donelan MP said “I was delighted to attend the launch of the new carer services at Chippenham Hospital on Friday afternoon. I have worked with Carer Support Wiltshire throughout the years.
“There are over 45,000 volunteer carers within Wiltshire alone and they thoroughly deserve the recognition and support provided by Carer Support Wiltshire. Providing carers with the support and recognition they deserve is something that I have spoken about many times in Parliament.
“I look forward to working with the Carer Support team more closely to raise awareness of the work they do and help with the wellbeing of those who give their time so selflessly to help others.”

Jackie Maton, CSW’s Health and Communities Engagement Worker said: “It was a fantastic week that really gave us the momentum to reach out to carers, some known to us and some who might not otherwise have been aware of help available to them.

“Everyone has a part to play in supporting the carers in our communities. We tell carers not to let themselves become isolated – if you care for someone, who cares for you?”