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Jun 18 2012

Harrow Carer Champions Week

Celebrating the enormous contribution carers make to their local community, Harrow Council is staging a host of events to mark National Carers Week, 18th – 24th June. It is also launching a search for a network of ‘carer champions’ across the borough, to strengthen even further the support to Harrow’s carers.

Recognising the vital contribution carers make in Harrow, the council is looking for more local carers to join with them in developing a wider network of carers to act as champions. The champions will raise awareness of the role of carers and will champion their needs and concerns with the council, health services and the wider community. It will give carers a greater say in influencing services that directly affect them.

The champions will be residents who understand the needs of carers in the community, and potentially already have strong links with carers and charitable organisations.

Cllr Margaret Davine, Portfolio Holder for Adults Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, said:  “Carers week is a great opportunity for us to thank all of the many carers in our community. The work they do is invaluable, supporting some of our most vulnerable residents. It is also a timely start to our search for new ‘carer champions’ in Harrow. These champions will be spokespeople and carer’s advocates on issues affecting the many thousands of carers in the borough. They will provide a powerful voice and speak up for over 30,000 carers when it comes to key council decisions that will affect carers in any way. I am looking forward to finding and working with our carer champions in this way. This search reinforces our commitment to carers and to supporting those most in need in our borough.”

So many carers make a hidden contribution to their community because they don’t realise they are entitled to help and support. Harrow Council wants to address this and the health problems, isolation and lack of support many experience. The council hopes to do this by putting the spotlight on their needs through these dedicated ‘carer champions.’

Gill West, cares for her father in Harrow, she echoes the message that support and networking is vital.

“The support I get through the coffee group we set up locally is invaluable. We met at a Dementia Carers course in Harrow in February and have been meeting up for tea and support ever since.

It has worked out really well for us, we speak about our loved ones, our similar caring journeys and the support available.

Carers can feel isolated and alone, but they don’t need to. It is important to know you can get support out there.”

Gill has since ‘buddied’ up with one of the carers she met at the Dementia course, they meet or speak regularly.

“It has worked so well for me. I worked in HR previously and the idea of mentoring or buddying up with someone to help each other really appealed to me.”

She believes Carers Week is an ideal opportunity to get more information on the support available out there.

“It is a great opportunity to meet other carers, network and get hints and tips that could really help you. I will be going along to four events during carers week in Harrow.”

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