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A strategy that aims to better support and champion the borough’s unpaid carers has been published in final form by Richmond Council.

The Richmond Carers Strategy has been developed by the Council in partnership with Richmond CCG, Achieving for Children, the wider voluntary sector and carers themselves.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it was estimated that there were around 18,000 Richmond residents who provided unpaid care to loved ones, who due to illness, disability, mental health or addiction, cannot cope without their support.

This number is now potentially a lot higher as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown. A survey published by Carers UK on April 23 2020 revealed that 70% of UK carers are providing more care for their loved ones during the current crisis.

Richmond Carers Strategy aims to recognise and support these people so that they can live their lives with confidence and resilience, during and after the pandemic.

The strategy presents that the Council and its partners will:

  1. Improve the recognition of carers and our understanding of their needs
  2. Mitigate the economic and academic impact of caring
  3. Create carer friendly services and communities
  4. Improve carers health and wellbeing

For more detail on each of the priorities please find the strategy here.

Local support services are still available for carers. Richmond Carers Centre is continuing to run the following services remotely throughout the social distancing measures currently in place due to COVID-19:

  • Telephone and email support - we are here whether you need advice and information about your caring role or if you just need someone to talk to
  • Counselling -we are contacting those at the top of the waiting list. Contact us if you would like to be added to the list
  • Support to complete grant/funding applications - if you need help with items to support you in your caring role during this crisis please get in touch on the contact details above
  • Information updates and wellbeing ideas/opportunities - In place of our usual quarterly newsletter we are sending weekly email updates. You can access previous updates HERE

To speak with a member of the Adult Carers Support Team, call our Carers Support Line on 020 8867 2380 to leave us a voice message or email support@richmondcarers.org. To speak with a member of the Young Carers Support Team, call 020 8867 2383 to leave a voice message or email youngcarers@richmondcarers.org. Voicemail messages are being retrieved throughout the day and the team will return your call as soon as possible. Please be aware it may take longer to return your call/email than usual but we will contact you.

For further information on services visit www.richmondcarers.org

Cllr Piers Allen, Lead Member for Adult Social Services and Health, and Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board that has endorsed the Strategy, said:

“The current crisis shows the invaluable role that unpaid carers play, which is all done behind closed doors and often with little recognition.

“Unpaid carers are heroes - and the Richmond Carers Strategy aims to make a better system for our heroes and those they care for.”

Melissa Wilks, Chief Executive of Richmond Carers Centre said:

“Our staff are working remotely to ensure we continue to support carers through this crisis. The service has seen a big increase in the number of calls received and the severity of the situation carers are facing.”

The Government has published (8 April) some specific guidance for carers of friends or family during the coronavirus outbreak. Please visit the government website for further information.

– from a Richmond Council press release - 5 May 2020