Exeter Chiefs’ winger, Tom O’Flaherty, is working with Devon Carers to raise awareness of the vital role that unpaid carers play in helping their families, friends and neighbours across Devon.
His involvement is part of a new unpaid carer campaign, commissioned by Devon County Council and run by FamilyCarersNet, that will be reaching out to people who may not see themselves as an unpaid carer, so they become aware of the tailored help and support available from Devon Carers.
Tom O’Flaherty, Exeter Chiefs, spoke of his support: “It’s great to be involved with Devon Carers and raising awareness to so many people who are unpaid carers about the support that is available to them. I hope that through this partnership and my additional efforts, we can increase carer-awareness to a new audience and reach people who may not necessarily consider themselves to be a carer.”
The campaign has a greater focus of awareness due to the impact of COVID-19, with the number of unpaid carers in Devon increasing to approximately 130,000. It is also hoped that those in some under-identified groups of carers, particularly working age carers, male carers, LGBT+ carers and carers in ethnic minority communities will be encouraged to register for free support.
Cllr James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services, said: “As a result of the coronavirus [disease] pandemic, we know that more people are caring for loved ones than ever before. The number is estimated to be as high as 130,000 in Devon but worryingly only 20,000 are getting the vital support available to them through Devon Carers.
‘You might think it’s just a bit of cooking, a few lifts here and there or a shoulder to cry on, but caring can bring a whole host of responsibilities and worries and can have a real impact on your own health and wellbeing. For many it can feel quite overwhelming but support is available, so please do get in touch.”
Andy Hood, Head of Carers Services at Devon Carers is actively behind the campaign: “We are delighted that Tom is supporting this carer awareness-raising campaign. We know that many people would not think of themselves as a carer, but rather that they are helping a family member, a friend or a neighbour. Through this new relationship with Tom, we are hoping to break down misconceptions about what a carer is, and in turn, reach more people who need our support.”
Devon Carers provide unpaid carers with a range of support, from self-help through the website, to training and workshops, support following a stay in hospital or peer support at a group; and an alert card, carers passport and emergency plan, all of which help carers and those they care for.
If you are looking after a family member, friend or neighbour and would like more information or to register with Devon Carers, please contact 01392 307720 or visit their website www.devoncarers.org.uk/support