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Caring for our Carers

by Cathy Sheel

According to the last census there are nearly 17,000 carers living in Knowsley currently. As many people don’t officially recognise themselves as being carers, it is actually estimated that the ‘real’ number is much higher.

A carer is anyone who looks after a family member, friend or loved one who has a disability, mental or physical illness, addiction, or who needs extra help as they grow older.

Carers provide invaluable support that enables thousands of residents to live safely and independently. This selfless commitment to others can take its toll on carers who face significant demands that can impact all aspect of life from relationships to health to finances and work.

In Knowsley we not only appreciate the contribution carers make but also recognise that they themselves can benefit from additional support, information and advice at times.

As part of this year’s Carer’s Week (10 – 16 June), Knowsley Council is reminding all carers of the work that is happening across the borough to support them and some of the places they can go for information and advice:

Knowsley Carers Centre offers a range of services to support unpaid carers who live in Knowsley, or care for a Knowsley resident. These include information and advice, benefits advice, carers ID and emergency cards, training activities, social groups, breaks, and counselling.

For more information about Knowsley Carers Centre, ring 0151 549 1412, email enquiries@knowsleycarers.co.uk or visit the Knowsley Carers website.

Read their latest newsletter.

Support Groups – Call the Carers Centre for more information about day and family support centres.

You can also see what support is available in your local area by searching the Live Well Directory or by calling Healthy Knowsley on 0800 0731202.

Getting a Carer’s Assessment – Any carer can request a Carer’s Assessment through the First Response Team on 0151 443 2600. As part of the assessment you can discuss your needs, talk about how your caring role affects you and see what support may be available. You can visit the Council website for more information on Carer’s Assessments.

Knowsley Parent Carers Voice is a group of parents and carers of children with special education needs and disabilities in Knowsley. Their aim is to work in partnership with Education, Social Care and Health and Wellbeing services to influence and develop quality services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities in Knowsley.

By getting involved and sharing your experiences, you can help to play your part in improving our understanding of the challenges people are facing and helping to shape future services and support.

You can find out more here.

Knowsley Council’s All Age Carers Strategy 2020–25 aims to ensure all carers are recognised and valued and that they receive supportive services, enabling them to have a quality of life similar to those without caring responsibilities. Read more here.

The Council also provides support to carers to maintain a good quality of life. For a discussion on how you can be supported contact the team on 0151 443 2600.

Knowsley’s Carers Partnership Board brings together carers, voluntary services, health and social care staff to talk about issues affecting carers in Knowsley. The board meets four times a year at Knowsley Carers Centre and is always looking for carers to get involved to influence carer services. You can contact Healthwatch Knowsley on 0151 449 3954 for more information.

Carer Passport – Hospital trusts across the Merseyside and Cheshire region have worked together with carers and carer organisations to develop a Carer Passport for use when a person is admitted to hospital for an inpatient stay. The passport provides information to managers and key healthcare professionals and details a partnership agreement in supporting the care of the patient during their stay in hospital. These are available on request.

Knowsley Carers Centre also issues Carers ID cards which entitle users to a range of benefits. If you would like a card call Judy at Knowsley Carers Centre on 0151 549 1412.

For more information about activities during Carer’s Week visit www.carersweek.org.uk

Carers in Knowsley

Knowsley is in the top 5 local authority areas for the proportion of residents who are providing unpaid care.

Knowsley also has the largest proportion of people in England providing 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week (4.3%).

According to the census, the Whiston and Cronton ward has the highest percentage of residents who are self-reported unpaid carers at 12.5%, with Northwood (12.1%) and St Gabriels (11.9%) closely following. The Knowsley average is 11.4%.