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28 October 2014

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BBC's phone lifeline helps county carers
Young carer with mum
Some carers are young people looking after an ill or disabled parent

Who cares about the hundreds of people in the county who are stuck at home caring for a sick or disabled child, partner or parent?

BBC Gloucestershire does - with the launch of a new 'virtual support group' to put carers in touch.


To Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, talk about the Ring Around Carers campaign

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+ In total there are 5.7 million adult carers across the UK, of whom almost one million are looking after somebody for more than 50 hours each week.

+ There are also estimated to be 50,000 young carers in the UK - young people under the age of 18 who might be helping to look after a parent with physical disabilities or mental health problems, or who may be caring for a brother or sister with learning disabilities.

+ Carers save the UK £57 billion every year in care costs, according to a recent survey by the charity Carers UK.

+ The charity believes that voluntary work done by carers could add up to another £1 billion to this figure.

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Imagine a job which involves working on your own, being on call round the clock, and with little or no holiday opportunities.

Not a tempting prospect is it? But that's the grim reality of daily life for many people in Gloucestershire who look after a disabled or ill child, parent, brother, sister, friend or neighbour.

Most carers would still not recognise themselves under the term 'carer'. They are just people trying to cope as best they can while helping to look after a partner with multiple sclerosis, a child born with cerebral palsy, or an elderly relative with Alzheimer's, for example.

Ring Around Carers is
an ideal way of keeping in touch and exchanging information if your caring role keeps you at home much of the time. quote
Carol Paton, BBC Gloucestershire

One of the hardest parts of their plight can be the feelings of loneliness and isolation that carers experience because their responsibilities mean they cannot easily get out and meet other people.

That's what BBC Gloucestershire hopes to ease by marking National Carers Week (June 9-15) with a new telephone support service.

Ring Around Carers provides carers with a regular 'meeting place' where they can chat and keep in touch with other people in the same situation - without having to leave home.

Carol Paton, assistant editor of BBC Gloucestershire, said: "Not every carer can easily get out to meet others.

Carer with family
Many families are caring for a child with disabilities

"In areas where it already operates Ring Around Carers has proved a valuable lifeline for them - some have even said it's been the one thing that has stopped them feeling suicidal.

"We hope Ring Around Carers will be popular addition to the support services already provided for carers in Gloucestershire.

"It's an ideal way of keeping in touch and exchanging information if your caring role keeps you at home much of the time."

How to join Ring Around Carers

  • Any carer can join in - you can be caring for a relative, spouse or friend, for a couple of hours a week or 24 hours a day.
  • To find out more ring the BBC Gloucestershire Action Desk on 01452 331133 or fill in the online form at the bottom of this page.
  • You can give your details over the phone to an Action Desk volunteer, or we will send you out a form.
  • The Ring Around Carers groups will be organised by our partners at Community Network, a registered charity that runs telephone meetings for hundreds of people every week.

How Ring Around Carers works

  • The groups will take place once a week, at an appointed time
  • Don't worry if you miss a week, and if you are called away during the session - that's quite all right!
  • Carers will be asked about which is the best time for them to join a group - which will make it easier to put the groups together.
  • There will be up to five other carers in the group, plus a facilitator or 'host'.
  • Every member of Ring Around Carers will get a confirmation letter from Community Network about the date and time their group will take place.

What's good about Ring Around Carers

  • t's SIMPLE - all you need is some time, and an ordinary telephone.
  • It is FREE - we'll provide 45 minutes of meeting and talking time, and the host will make sure everyone has a chance to speak if they want to.
  • It's CONFIDENTIAL. Don't worry - you are NOT going to be on the radio! Only you and your group will hear what you want to say. Your facilitator will have signed a confidentiality 'bond' - what they hear will go no further.
  • It's FLEXIBLE - we're planning to introduce expert guests if there's a demand. If you fancy having particular information or advice - perhaps about health, gardening, or finance - we would be happy to arrange a 'guest' to come on the line to your group.

Gloucestershire Carers Project has information about other support services for those with caring responsibilities - and there is a separate group for young carers.

See their websites for more information by following the links below

Gloucestershire Carers Project
Community House, 15 College Green,
Gloucester GL1 2LZ
Tel: 01452 386283
Fax: 01452 506061

Gloucestershire Young Carers Project
Community House, 15 College Green,
Gloucester GL1 2LZ
Tel: 01452 309399 or 24-hour freephone: 0500 008050

>>You can download a list of carers groups across Gloucestershire here

Fill in this form if you would like more
information about how to join a Ring Around Carers group in Gloucestershire
Your name
Your address :
Telephone number
Your email address:
Use of Data Notice: The BBC will use the information you provide on this form solely as a contribution to BBC. The data will not be used in any way to inform you of other BBC services, products and events.

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