Local carers are the ‘backbone’ of the health and social care service

Carers Celebration Event at Whitehorse Hotel, Derry from left to right are: Cathy Magowan, Western Trust Carers Coordinator; Geraldine McLaughlin, Western Trust Carers Development Worker;  Mary Miller, Carer;  Rosaleen  Harkin, Western Trust Head of Learning Disability Services; Glenda Frazer, Carer and  Michael Downes, Carer.
Carers Celebration Event at Whitehorse Hotel, Derry from left to right are: Cathy Magowan, Western Trust Carers Coordinator; Geraldine McLaughlin, Western Trust Carers Development Worker; Mary Miller, Carer; Rosaleen Harkin, Western Trust Head of Learning Disability Services; Glenda Frazer, Carer and Michael Downes, Carer.

The priceless contribution of local carers who are a lifeline to their loved ones have been celebrated at a special event in Derry.

The Western Trust organised the event dedicated to all those informal carers of all ages who local health professionals described as the “back bone of the health and social care service” during Carers Week.

The 2017 State of Caring Survey for Northern Ireland highlighted the impact of caring on finances, and physical and emotional health. In particular many carers were finding they become increasingly socially isolated.

The Carers pamper daytime event took place at the White Horse Hotel. A number of other events meanwhile are planned in conjunction with Barnardos for young carers in the Western Trust, including Go-Karting and water activities on Lough Erne.

Ann McDuff, Assistant Director who chairs the Young Carers Steering Group said: “Being a young carer can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing up such as a young person’s own health, their social life and self-confidence.

“Many young carers are absent from school because of their caring role and others struggle to balance their education and caring role which causes additional stress. For these reasons we have circulated an information leaflet for staff in all schools profiling this often ’hidden’ group and advising on the support available.

“The range of services that the Western Trust provide with Barnardo’s offers young carers the chance to be themselves, to be free from responsibility for a while.”

Dr Bob Brown, Director of Primary Care and Older Peoples Services, Western Trust said: “Without the input of Carers in supporting their loved ones, the health service would be unable to meet the ever increasing demand for services. It is essential therefore that we ensure Carers are supported to continue the very valuable work that they do.”

Cathy Magowan who is Carers Coordinator for the Western Trust added: “When you stop and think for a moment what Carers do day in day out you realise what a huge service they provide for our society, sometimes at a considerable cost to themselves, supporting them is absolutely key and Carers Week is an excellent way for us to all recognise and appreciate what they do.”

If you care for someone in an unpaid capacity and would like to find out more about registering as a Carer, telephone the Western Trust’s Carers Support Office on (028) 66 344 163, or Geraldine McLaughlin on (028) 7135 5023.