The big question

    It’s National Carers Week: token gesture or good
    idea?

    Jean Stogdon
    Chair, Grandparents Plus

    I’m a carer for my husband but the week didn’t register. It always
    seems to be year of this or that, or day or week of something or
    other – it’s becoming pretty meaningless. These weeks used to have
    an impact but now they’ve lost their oomph. Perhaps that’s our
    fault for not using them more imaginatively.

    Jaya Kathrecha
    Carer

    I was asked to speak at a National Carers Week event so it’s
    given me a voice but that’s just once a year. The rest of the time
    we are ignored. Our primary care trust did a report on changing
    mental health services with no mention of the word carer. And when
    professionals assessed my son they ignored my needs.

    Joan Scott
    director, Action Unlimited

    They said it was Carers Week at the carers meeting I go to. It’s a
    good idea. Two of my children have learning difficulties but when
    they were small nobody ever said to me “are you coping – can we
    help?”. If you have learning difficulties you don’t like to ask for
    support in case they take your children away.

    Ibrahim Koroma
    Asylum seeker

    It’s also Refugee Week but events for carers seem to receive a lot
    more publicity. Carers may think they get a poor deal but they
    should try being a refugee or asylum seeker – we really are at the
    very bottom of the pile. You are expected to exist with no support
    at all – nobody seems to care what happens to you.

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