Age UK’s Influencing Work During Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week 2022

With Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week both falling in June, here’s a roundup of Age UK’s influencing work across both weeks.

It’s been a busy month for the whole Age UK Network, with both Carers Week and Loneliness Awareness Week following each other during June! As you know, both weeks are major opportunities to raise awareness of these issues and to highlight the important work that is being done, and more that could be done, to tackle them. Read on to learn about some of the central influencing opportunities we engaged in over these two weeks:

Carers Week – Ensuring Carers Feel Visible, Valued & Supported

Carers Week is delivered by Carers UK alongside Age UK and other charity partners as a celebration of the huge contributions of unpaid carers. This year, the campaign also focused on highlighting the impact of the pandemic on unpaid carers and calling on the Government to create and fund a Recovery & Respite plan.

Age UK’s role is to highlight the role of older carers and ensure the support they need is recognised. As well as arranging for two campaigners to speak with the Minister for Care and the Shadow Minister for Care during online calls, we also attended the Carers Week Parliamentary drop-in for MPs on 8th June.

Norman Philips, who cares for his wife, and Rasila Mehta, who cares for her sister, joined Age UK at the event and spoke to over 21 MPs and Peers about their experiences and the support they need to meet the demands of their roles as older carers. Alongside the more than 6000 campaigners who wrote to their MPs, Norman and Rasila demonstrated just how reliant the Health and Care sectors are on unpaid carers and made a very clear case for the need for immediate Government support.

You can read more about Carers Week and the Recovery & Respite plan here.

Norman Philips, Age UK’s Senior External Affairs Manager Eorann Lean, and Rasila Mehta

Loneliness Awareness Week – Tackling Loneliness with the Minister

We started the week with a webinar, chaired by Darren Henry MP, on supporting those on low incomes to overcome loneliness. We had a fantastic presentation from Jenny Paton at Age UK Wirral on their work with their local hospital trust.

To mark the end of Loneliness Awareness Week, Nigel Huddleston, the Minister responsible for tackling the loneliness agenda, joined a game of walking football in his constituency at Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire last Friday.

He got to see first-hand an example of the amazing work the Age UK Network does to tackle loneliness across the country. Walking football is a great way for players to socialise, while staying active at the same time.

The team spoke with the Minister about why playing means so much to them. Richard told him:

“I’ve made new friends and gotten to know more people. We all stop for a coffee after and have a chat. For those who are getting on or may have lost a partner, it helps with socialising. If someone doesn’t turn up for a few weeks, we reach out on our WhatsApp group.”

Richard, a regular walking football player

The Minister was happy to get stuck in and have a kick about with the team. It’s safe to say he thoroughly enjoyed himself and was very impressed with Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire, saying later:

“it was great to see their inspiring work helping older people make new friends while having fun and getting exercise.”

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society

You can read more on the Age UK Discover blog and see some lovely clips of the visit on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s twitter feed below:

Thank You!

We are deeply thankful to all our campaigners and all the local Age UKs who support unpaid carers and deliver services essential to tackling loneliness in older people. This work is essential for supporting the older people who need us most. Age UK will of course continue campaigning for them, to make sure they get the support they need.

If you have any questions about our campaigning work, please get in touch – luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.

Carers Week 2022 – Calling for a Recovery and Respite Plan for Carers

As Carers Week continues, we’ve launched a new campaign action, asking our supporters to join the call for a Recovery and Respite plan. Find out how you can spread the word below.

As Carers Week continues, today’s focus is a celebration of older carers. There are more than 2 million older carers providing a vital service to their loved ones in the UK and we have loved working with you to recognise and celebrate everything they do to help others. We’ve launched a new campaign action, asking our supporters to join the Carers Week call for a Recovery and Respite plan. Find out full details below, including how you can spread the word.

Recovery and Respite

Recognising the contributions of carers is only one part of Carers Week. Yesterday we launched a campaigners’ action, asking our supporters to join the Carers Week call for a Recovery and Respite plan that would give carers the break they have needed, but haven’t had, since even before the pandemic began.

Spreading the word on Social Media

We have asked our supporters to write to their MP, asking them to support the delivery of this plan. We would really appreciate you promoting this call too. You can use the following template social media posts.

Twitter:

This #CarersWeek2022 we are calling on the Government to provide a proper respite and recovery plan for unpaid carers.

Join our call and write to your MP today:

https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/107135/action/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK

Facebook:

Taking a break should be a normal part of everyone’s daily life. Even before the pandemic, many carers were supporting their loved ones 24/7. After 2 gruelling years, they really need a break, but many still do not have the option.

We are calling on the Government to provide a proper respite and recovery plan for unpaid carers. Join our call and write to your MP here:

https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/107135/action/1?ea.tracking.id=LAUK

Carers Week Report

The annual Carers Week event also features a brand new report, summarising the experiences of carers over the pandemic and the coming challenges they will need support with, as well as outlining the need for a fully funded Recovery and Respite plan that supports their wellbeing.

Take a look at the report and use the template social media posts in the partner pack to promote it online.

Thank you for all your work delivering events and support during this important awareness week. If you have any queries, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk. We look forward to celebrating our incredible carers with you!

Carers Week 2022 – Partner Pack

With Carers Week approaching, Age UK’s Campaigns Team have put together a list of ways that local Age UKs can get involved.

This year, Carers Week will take place from 6th – 12th June and will focus on ensuring that carers are Visible, Valued and Supported. To support your participation in the week’s festivities, we have detailed some ways local Age UKs can get involved below, including some infographics and template wording for social media and a template letter to local media.

As you know, Carers Week is an annual celebration of the role unpaid carers have in providing thousands of hours of care to friends family and loved ones and also a chance to focus on how they could be better supported.

The theme for this year’s awareness week is ensuring carers are Visible, Valued and Supported. As well as highlighting the important work of unpaid carers, the coalition of charities delivering Carers Week will call on the Government to implement a proper plan to provide respite and recovery for unpaid carers who rarely, if ever, get a break.

To support your participation in the week’s festivities, we have detailed below some ways local Age UKs can get involved. Don’t forget to promote the services and incredible work you do to support carers!

If you have 5 minutes…

Add Carers Week activities to the website

Are you running an activity during Carers Week? Add it to the Carers Week website.

Whether your activity is online, or you are running a face-to-face event, make sure everyone knows how to get involved.

If you have 10 minutes…

Promote Carers Week online

Use Carers Week 2022 as an opportunity to share the experiences of older carers and to promote your services and events for carers.

Use these graphics featuring statistics about older carers to highlight the experience of older carers in the UK.

Use your social media accounts to highlight your carers services and to promote any events you might be delivering during the week. You can also find template Facebook and Twitter posts, focusing on older carers and to promote your services, here.

You can also find official Carers Week graphics and resources for download here.

If you have longer…

Send a letter to editor

Use this template letter to editor to write to your local newspaper and highlight the experiences of carers and the need for a proper recovery and respite plan to ensure they get the breaks they need.

Your local newspaper may have a long lead-in time, so try and submit the letter as soon as possible, but be clear the letter is for publication during Carers Week (6th – 12th June). The letter is embargoed until 00:01 on 6th June.

Storytellers

Do you know any carers or older people who are supported by an unpaid carer who would be willing to share their story? Please let us know if you know any possible storytellers and if they would be willing to provide a quote for your Carers Week promotion.

Get in touch!

We will have more materials to share with you once the Carers Week report is ready to be published. In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact luke.pilot@ageuk.org.uk.

Engage Britain seek ideas to improve conditions for those working in social care

Engage Britain are seeking ideas to make things better for those who work in care. Find out how you can share your ideas below.

Engage Britain, an independent charity, is bringing people together to help improve social care for all. They’re asking for people with experience of social care – whether through working in it, drawing on it, or running services – to share their thoughts on what could be done to make things better for those who work in care. Do you want to help make things better for people who work in social care? Share your Ideas for Change here.

Engage Britain want to make sure as many people as possible with experience and expertise in social care have the chance to get involved and have their say on solutions.

Click here to share your Ideas for Change, as well as provide feedback on what other people have said. The platform is live until 22nd May.

Carers UK Launch the Carers Active April Campaign

Find out all about Carers UK’s new Carers Active April Campaign, including how you can get involved.

Carers UK are launching an exciting new campaign called Carers Active April, to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity for carers. The aim is for all carers to be able to access activity that is achievable, accessible, and affordable. Find out more details, including how you can get involved, below.

Carers have had an extremely challenging time during the pandemic, and many have seen their own health and wellbeing impacted by their caring responsibilities. Now more than ever, finding ways to improve carers’ health and wellbeing is crucial.

How to get involved

There are lots of ways to get involved with Carers Active April. You could run an activity or event such as walking, online yoga classes or dance sessions. Or you could share information and advice for carers on how to become more active and look after their wellbeing. Carers UK have put together lots of tips and resources to help you get started.

Visit the Carers Active April supporter area for a range of information, ideas, and resources for running an activity or spreading the word about the campaign.

Carers UK would be delighted if you wanted to run an event, and have produced some top tips and ideas for you here.

Whatever you decide to do, you can add your activity on the Carers UK website.

Find out more

For further details, please view the latest Carers UK newsletter.

Covid-19 Update: Latest Briefing | Vaccine FAQs | Priority Vaccination Letter for Carers | Antiviral Treatment Trial

There’s lots of information in this latest Covid-19 update, including the latest briefing and vaccine FAQs. There’s also a priority booster vaccine letter for carers, and information on a new antiviral treatment trial.

This Covid-19 update covers the release of the latest Covid-19 Briefing from the Health Influencing Team, which can be downloaded below along with the latest FAQs about the Covid-19 vaccine. There’s also information on priority vaccinations for carers, including a letter from DHSC which can be given to unpaid carers or care staff without other ID to use as proof of status. Lastly, there’s some information about a study that the NHS is rolling out to trial new antiviral treatments for coronavirus. Full details on all of these topics can be found below.


Latest Covid-19 Briefing & Vaccine FAQs

The latest Covid-19 Internal Briefing is available for you to download below along with the latest FAQs on the Covid-19 Vaccine. The Briefing contains information on the Omicron variant along with some upcoming key dates. The vaccine FAQ covers questions recently asked by Brand Partners on the topic of vaccination and their obligations as employers.

Both documents are for internal use only.


Priority booster vaccinations for paid and unpaid carers

Care staff and unpaid carers should be given priority at vaccination sites in order to get their booster jab. Please find below a letter from DHSC which can be given to unpaid carers or care staff without other ID as proof of status. We encourage you to download and share this letter with any relevant contacts across your networks to ensure that all frontline health care workers, social care staff, and unpaid carers can access a booster jab with as much ease as possible. Thank you.


New NHS Study into Antiviral Treatments for Coronavirus

Age UK’s Health Influencing Team have also been asked to raise awareness about a study that the NHS is rolling out to trial new antiviral treatments for coronavirus. Antivirals are a treatment usually taken in the early phase of an illness as soon as symptoms are detected, they aim to contain the virus and prevent it from progressing into a more serious illness.

Eligible patients will be contacted by the study team or a local healthcare professional to consider enrolling in the study, so we wanted to let you know about the study in case you receive any questions from those you work with.

This is not a medical trial, these treatments have already been approved by the MHRA as the medical regulator as safe and effective. The aim is to see whether prescribing the drugs as standard to some groups of patients when they test positive for coronavirus can help significantly reduce the number of people who need hospital care.

There are two possible treatments available:

  • The PANORAMIC national study is trialling oral antiviral drugs that can be taken at home. Anyone over the age of 50, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus within the last 5 days and has active symptoms, can volunteer to get involved. Antiviral drugs will be sent directly to people’s homes and individuals will be supported by a remote medical team. Care home residents are also eligible to participate and some care homes are working directly with the study organisers.
  • In addition, the most high risk patients are proactively being offered direct access to intravenous antivirals. These drugs are administered in hospital via a drip and are only available to those groups. Eligible potential patients will receive a letter or email explaining the trial and providing more information on how they will be contacted to participate if they test positive. Individuals who meet the criteria but have not been contacted can ask to be included via their GP or consultant.

The briefing below provides more information on the study, the treatments and eligible patients:

Carers Week 2021 | 7 – 11 June

Find out all about this year’s Carers Week, including how you can get involved.

This year’s Carers Week will run from 7 – 11 June 2021, please save the dates in your diary. It’s an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and pave the way for policy makers to provide greater support for carers in the long term. There are lots of ways you can start getting involved now and show your support for carers. Read on to find out more about Carers Week, including how to get involved.

Carers Week is brought to life by the thousands of individuals and organisations who get involved, so we’d love your help to make it a success. By taking part, you’ll be highlighting the important role carers play in our communities, helping connect them with vital support networks, and sparking a national conversation about carers’ needs that will encourage decision makers to take action. Taking part in Carers Week also offers a great chance to raise your profile as a local charity.

There are lots of ways you can start getting involved now and show your support for carers. Here are just a few:

Carers Week is also a great hook for engaging your MP and local decision makers in a conversation about the support carers need in your area, and what they can do to help. If you’re interested in setting up a virtual meeting with your MP during Carers Week we’d be glad to support you, please email Rhianon.Steeds@ageuk.org.uk to find out more.

If you have any other questions about the actions listed above or would like support getting involved please don’t hesitate to get in touch, you can email me at Rhianon.Steeds@ageuk.org.uk. I’ll be in touch again soon with more detail about the activities going on in Carers Week and how you can take part.

Special recognition award for Age UK Mid Mersey

Congratulations to Age UK Mid Mersey, who have been presented with a special recognition award!

Age UK Mid Mersey has been presented with a special recognition award by the High Sheriff of Merseyside to acknowledge the wonderful work they do with older people in the community. Alongside their recent nomination for a Queens Award for Voluntary Service, it’s quite an accolade and recognises the professional, dedicated and caring service provided by their staff and volunteers.

CEO Shelley Brown says ‘I am delighted for our staff team and volunteers and extremely proud to work within the Age UK brand’.

Congratulations Age UK Mid Mersey!