Unpaid carers from across Torbay recently enjoyed a host of treats for some well-deserved fun and relaxation at a series of events timed to coincide with National Carers Week 2019.

Carers Week celebrates the essential, and often unsung, role of unpaid carers (those family members and friends who support people with a disability, a long-term condition, mental health, drug or alcohol issue). 

Organised by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s Carers Services and supported by local organisations, this year’s Carers Week continued to focus on the theme ‘Getting Carers Connected’ and helping carers to stay healthy and connected while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Torbay's Unpaid Carers

A host of events, designed for a wide age range, took place across the Bay with an emphasis on carers having some time for themselves. The events ranged from afternoon teas, free entry to local attractions as well as how to sail a yacht around the Bay, to mindfulness workshops and a return trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company to Dartmouth, plus many other activities. All were aimed at promoting the wellbeing of carers and recognising the vital role they play in our community.

Katy Heard, Carers’ and Volunteers’ Lead at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The role our unpaid carers play in providing expert care for some of the most vulnerable people in the community, cannot be valued highly enough. For these people – many of whom are young people, still attending school, or are older people with health needs of their own – caring is not a job which starts at 9am and ends at 5pm; it is a commitment which means they can be ‘on-call’ 24 hours a day, seven days a week and so in Carers Week, we just try to give them a bit of a break.

“We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the businesses who participated during the week, especially Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company, Torre Abbey, Torquay Museum, Windsor Castle and the Disabled Sailing Association who all offered their services for free as part of the week.”

Torbay's unpaid carers

Natalie Townsend, Carers Services Coordinator at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It was wonderful to see so many carers relaxing and enjoying a day out, it is so important that we recognise our unpaid carers and provide them with opportunities to take time-out from the support they provide.

“A popular event this year was the Dartmouth steam train and it was great to spend time with so many carers, who thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have an afternoon out to relax and enjoy the views across the river Dart and the spectacular Torbay coastline. 

“Carers Week really does provide us with the perfect opportunity to celebrate the often unsung contribution unpaid carers make within our local communities.” 

One carer who attended said: “After a very busy week, this gave me chance to refuel – thank you so much!”

If someone in Torbay relies on you because they are getting older, or have a disability or mental health / drug / alcohol issue, please contact Signposts for Carers on: 01803 666620, email signposts@nhs.net or visit www.tsdft.uk/carers.

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