Earlier this week, I’ve attended with my husband Andrew Bridgen the Carers Week that celebrates carers of those living with illness or disability.

Earlier this week, I was invited to attend the Carers Week’s event in Westminster,  a national awareness campaign that was taking place from 10th to 16th of June across the UK.

Here, in Westminster, the event was called to celebrate and recognise the vital contributions made by those unpaid carers who attend to needs of those living with an illness, disability, mental health condition or as they grow older become infirm. Andrew and I, along with many of his colleagues across party lines attended the event to celebrate the valuable contribution carers make and to find out how we can help.

Carers week

As I’ve entered the parliamentary committee room full of lawmakers, media and activists, I looked forward to meeting a myriad of carers, the driving force behind this noble cause.

All these volunteers are involved in many charities acorss the UK including Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, Rethink Mental Illness and Sense.

Carers often feel lonely

I sat down with carers and charity executives gathered around an oval table to learn their stories and hear more about their experiences.

‘Carers often feel lonely, many carers do not have any friends as they spend their lives taking care of others’, said Richard Kramer in front of ‘Sense’, a charity organisation that supports Deaf and Blind children and adults.

Sense believes that no one should be isolated, left out or not connected to society.  We provide opportunities in the community, housing, short breaks. We support 4000 people. There is no funding for children’s services. All our funding for disable children comes from our fundraising, as the local authorities do not have the money’, explained Kramer.

As we were talking to charities and volunteers trying to find out more about their work, Andrew was told that there are 380 000 blind and deaf children and adults across the country.

Carers Week
Andrew and Nevena Bridgen in conversation with Richard Kremer, Chief Executive of Sense

Get involved and help unpaid carers

In addition to fundraising, I was interested to hear from Richard how can people who cannot afford to donate get involved. ‘They can volunteer; they can work in a charity shop; they can campaign for us. There are many ways to get involved if you can not donate’, he said.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, told me that caring for family or friends can be a rewarding experience, but without the right support, it can also make a huge strain on carers’ lives.

‘Our research shows that many carers feel alone and are struggling with low levels of well being despite the invaluable contribution they make.  It’s time carers received greater recognition and support,’ Walker said.

Carers week is not only the celebration of the contribution carers make but an open call for individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by getting them connected to practical and financial support.“Government, employers, health and care professionals, schools and universities, and each of us individually, all have a role putting carers in touch with practical and financial help,” said Halen Walker.

I felt moved by the need to make a difference in the way society supports those who care, unpaid for their family and friends.

On that note, thousands of events are taking place across the country this week, and people have already pledged their support for carers online. To find out more about events in your area or for further information about visit :

Get connected, get involved! Help those who care for others by showing them your support.

Nevena Bridgen
Nevena Bridgen

Founder

Nevena Bridgen is the Founder of The Wives of Westminster. She is an opera singer and a wife of MP Andrew Bridgen.

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