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What being a carer means to me

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Reflections during Carers Week from Marianne Selby-Boothroyd, Director of Development at Certitude

“A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.”

There are 6.5 million carers across the UK. 5 million of them work alongside their caring responsibilities making up 1 in 7 of the UK workforce.

Being described as a carer isn’t something I particularly identify with. But I am registered as a carer at my GP surgery, and I get regular carer emails from a local carer group.

For me, being a carer means regular appointments at 2 different hospitals in London (we live in Buckinghamshire) for one son, 3 (sometimes 4) different other hospitals for another son. Managing appointments and more importantly, relationships with paediatricians, cardiologists, cardiac nurses, ophthalmologists, orthoptists, the hearing impairment team, the visual impairment team, the specialist teaching service, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy… the list goes on.

For me, being a carer means paperwork for annual reviews, daily check ins with school, benefits forms, constantly navigating work and home life because I have a child that should be increasingly independent and should be able to go to and from school on his own, be left alone for a while but can’t – but equally not being able to find childcare – because who needs childcare for a 13-year-old?

For me, being a carer means 4am regular wake up calls, limited places that the whole family can go to, thinking ahead to when a trip to the shops is possible.

I feel lucky. I work. I am lucky that I have a job which provides flexibility, and I can manage it around the many appointments and responsibilities being a carer brings. I know that many people don’t have this option. Unpaid carers who don’t work can get a maximum of £67.60 for a minimum of 35 hours a week.

There will be many unpaid carers working across Certitude. I hope that they feel able to bring their whole self to work ( my manager knows I do!), that their skills and talents are recognised along with their support needs.

To find out more about supporting carers or to find support for yourself or someone you know check out: