If the current global pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we all owe a great debt of gratitude to those on the front line, risking their health and their lives on a daily basis to ensure those who are struggling receive the help and support they need.
Back in April when the virus was seen to be at its peak in the UK, in his weekly column in the Tameside Reporter Denton MP Andrew Gwynne highlighted the need to protect our carers and their importance in our communities:
“Carers need to be protected as they work to care for the most vulnerable in our society. The crisis in our care homes during this pandemic is clear for all to see.
When normal life resumes, and I hope that it will very soon, we need to have some serious conversations about social care and its funding.”
You can read his comments in full here.
Carers have played an immeasurable part in not just our collective response to the virus, but in keeping the country going as a whole. This #CarersWeek, it's important for us all to take a moment to be thankful for and celebrate the dedication of carers working across all sectors. You yourself may have been directly impacted by our hard working carers, or know somebody that has been. Whoever you are, there’s a very high chance that your life and the lives of our loved ones would be a very different place today without the constant support of our beloved carers.
In fact, research by CarersUK has shown that throughout the coronavirus pandemic there has been a staggering rise of 4.5 million UNPAID carers taking time out of their lives to care for the elderly, the disabled or seriously ill friends and/or relatives during this time of crisis. If ever there was proof of us coming together during the most arduous times, this is surely it.
Then, of course, there was the now-iconic ‘Clap for our Carers which saw millions of people up and down the country step out of their homes (with social distancing measures in mind, of course!) and unleash a rapturous round of applause for the carers and NHS workers battling tirelessly to help defeat the coronavirus and look after those in desperate need of assistance. A testament to the appreciation of the nation and to the value of the collective human spirit we should be proud to have.
As a thank you for the work of these selfless individuals, calls have been made for the government to recognise the sacrifice made and to act favourably and generously in the favour of carers in the future. You can find out more about what is planned and how you can help here.
Watch a recent 'Clap for Carers' when Oldham Scottish Pipe Band performed outside Tameside Hospital...
But what about right here at home? What about your local area? Well, we’re immeasurably proud to say that Tameside and the surrounding areas are filled with spirit-lifting stories of local carers going above and beyond for not just those closest to them, but complete strangers too. We have featured some of these incredible people in the past, but seeing as it is officially Carer’s Week this week, we thought it would be appropriate to shine some light on their contributions once again. They are deserving of all the praise and respect in the world:
Back in May the residents of Clarkson House residential care home in Ashton were treated to their very own special ‘mini-parade’ as friends and loved ones formed a convoy along the street to say hello and show support to the residents, who had all been in total lockdown since lockdown measures began in March.
In a truly touching scene, the residents (assisted by their dedicated carers) gathered outside amidst balloons, bunting and banners galore to see some very happy, familiar faces.
The home’s deputy manager, Nichola O’Donovan recognised how much a gesture like this meant to the residents and their loved ones:
“We have done video calling and relatives coming to the window so the drive-by was the closest we could get so all of our residents could see their families. Unfortunately, Clarkson lost six very special residents in the last few weeks, which has had a great impact on staff and residents so we also were inspired to think of them. It went amazingly and we had an amazing response - bigger than anticipated, with families, the community and the public all getting involved.”
To read our full report of the very special day, click here.
Another inspiring story comes from Harriet Williams from Ashton, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday during lockdown!
With the help of her carers, Marie Spahija and Eleanor Roberts (as well as Careline) Harriet was the guest of honour at a very unique surprise birthday party!
Stephanie Butterworth, Tameside Council’s director of adult services, said:
“It’s touches like this that make our carers so special and demonstrate the relationships they forge with the people they look after. Even though they work to a very busy schedule they made sure Harriet’s special day was properly celebrated.”
But these are just a handful of stories from our area. The true impact carers have on the lives of those in need is truly immeasurable and while we can use Carer’s Week as a time to be thankful for all they do, no amount of praise will ever be enough to do justice to all their incredible work.
This Carer’s Week, we simply say: Thank You