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Local Account - Being a carer

The following information has been taken from the Local Account of Adult Social Services in Blackburn with Darwen.  The Local Account gives an overview of the range of social care services we have offered to local people during 2014/15, as well as our plans for 2015/16. To view the full Local Account document click here

The 2011 census tell us that there are 15,756 people in Blackburn with Darwen who declare themselves to be a carer. 

749 carers have received either an individual or joint social care assessment from Adult Social Services.  The Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service supports 3,827 carers, most of whom carry out their caring roles without any direct support from care services.

Providing unpaid care to an adult or child can be hard, whether they have a long-term illness or a disability, are elderly or have mental health problems. Sometimes having a short break, anything from just a few hours to a few weeks, can mean a lot.

The Council and its partners provide funding to enable the Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service to support local carers.  The service provides a 'one stop' carers centre, offering support, advice and information to all unpaid carers in the borough.

Spotlight on: Carers Service Helpline

The Carers Service helpline pilot started in October 2014.  Funding was identified through the 'Good Health Fund' managed by Community and Voluntary Services. 

The Carers Service building is open from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. This works very well for many carers, however there are carers who struggle to access the service within these hours.  A caring role does not end at 5pm on weekdays. Carers often have the need for information, support and a listening ear in the evening.  The helpline was aimed at targeting working carers and isolated carers.

Carers had identified a need for the service to be available out of hours due to:

  • Finding themselves in a crisis and not really knowing who to turn to, or not getting the support they need from other services
  • Just needing to talk to somebody who understands their situation (emotional support has been identified as one of the major requests from carers)
  • Working carers who struggle to visit the centre
  • Carers who have a full time caring role that are unable to leave the house or ring during the day time

Achievements 2014/2015  

  • The Carers Service celebrated 10 years of supporting carers in the borough at an event in October 2014, which was attended by 100 carers.
  • The Carers Service launched a new website in November 2014.  The new website is easy to navigate and gives carers the opportunity to find out about everything the Carers Service offers to carers.  To view the website please visit: www.bwdcarers.org.uk
  • In 2014/2015 the Carers Service received 693 referrals, an increase of 120 from 2013/2014.
  • Carers Week 2014 was a huge success, with over 200 participants taking part in activities throughout the week.
  • Carers in Blackburn with Darwen face a wide range of challenges.  A new DVD produced in partnership with students at Blackburn College has raised awareness of these challenges.

Priorities 2015/2016 

  • Two new carer support staff are being appointed.  The Health Liaison Worker role will improve relationships and increase carer referrals in GP surgeries and on hospital wards. The Service Development Worker will raise the profile of carers in the local community and business sector.
  • The Carers Service is planning to open its own charity shop in 2015/16.
  • The Carers Service will work in partnership with Child Action North West Young Carers Project and local adult and young carers to continue to provide support to carers of all ages.

In focus: Carers Support for Mr and Mrs J

'Mrs J' is in her 70s and cares for her husband who has advanced dementia.  Mrs J was feeling exhausted due to carrying out an intensive caring role whilst finding it difficult to come to terms with her husband's illness.  Mr J was displaying new behaviours such as visiting the bank daily and making unnecessary withdrawals and attempting to buy the same medication each day.  Mrs J was being contacted by the bank regularly and it was making her feel very anxious. 

Mrs J's husband liked to go for walks each day, however, if he returned back to the house and his wife wasn't there he would get very distressed.  This resulted in Mrs J never leaving the house just in case.  Her social isolation was having a negative impact on her own mental health.  She wished she could see her friends but was starting to feel very detached from them. 

The couple were struggling on a low income and finding it hard to maintain their home and garden.  Her daughter was trying to support her but runs her own business and works long hours. 

The Carers Service made a referral to the Alzheimer's Society on Mrs J's behalf.  They supported Mrs J with her questions and worries.  Mrs J was also offered a place on a course to improve her knowledge of dementia and how she could support her husband better.   Mrs J was given information about the services and activities that the Carers Service offer as well as information about day care facilities and other support groups in the local area. 

Mrs J was encouraged to contact the bank and discuss the problem.  A welfare and benefits adviser visited the family and helped them to claim Attendance Allowance.  A sitting service was set up so that Mrs J could see her friends again and this helped her to feel less isolated.  Mrs J was offered a Carers Respite Grant to be able to take a break and concentrate on her own health and wellbeing.  Mrs J was given DASH (Decent and Safe Homes) and Care Network information so she could seek support with maintenance required around her home. 

Initially Mrs J said she felt she was drowning in her caring role and had a very limited support network. Now she has a number of services supporting her and she knows who to turn to if she needs more support. 

Quotes from people who have used the Carers Service

"The massage sessions have completely helped my physical and emotional wellbeing. It has helped maintain my chronic back condition and now I have fewer flare ups. And if my back does play up I know that the money provided by the Carers Service enables me to book in for a massage. By maintaining my chronic back condition I have been able to carry on caring for my dad, complete my day to day tasks and I am volunteering in my local neighbourhood board and currently setting up activities for local residents."

"Before I came to the Carers Service it was like being trapped in four walls, now I feel like I have been released from prison."

"Just doing this simple activity gave me the confidence to get out and helped me feel better about myself. I love nature and felt uplifted after every walk.  I came home refreshed and able to continue."

The Local Account provides an overview of Adult Social Services.

Local account - Being a carer