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Event reaching out to thousands of hidden carers in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:09 11 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:09 11 June 2014

Organiser Les Eve(left) welcomes carers to the Carers Week main event at Costessey Community Centre.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Organiser Les Eve(left) welcomes carers to the Carers Week main event at Costessey Community Centre. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Dozens of organisations, including Norfolk Carers’ Council, Age UK Norfolk & Norwich, Dementia UK and Mind, joined carers at an open day as part of National Carers’ Week.

The event at Costessey Community Centre was aimed at reaching out to the thousands of hidden carers across Norfolk.

Organiser Les Eve, who has run Costessey Carers’ group for 12 years, said carers needed to know what help was out there and how they could tap into it.

Mr Eve, who is also on the Norwich and Norfolk Carers’ Council and is a volunteer with Age UK, said: “Of the 94,000 carers in Norfolk, only 4pc are known and registered, so we need to try and winkle the rest out.

“A lot of them don’t realise they are carers. They think that if they are, say, looking after a husband or wife, it’s the expected thing for them to do, and that they are not real carers.”

His group has 34 members and is the largest, longest-running group in Norfolk.

“I started the group after going to my doctors’ surgery one day, and being told it would be a good idea to have a carers’ group in Costessey,” he said.

“We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at the Costessey centre. My wife Shirley died 15 months ago, aged 77, and we were cared for so well, that I wanted to continue to give something back.

“If we find one carer today that we have not come across before, then we have succeeded.”

Louise Goold, for Norfolk Carers’ Council, said she was impressed by the turnout.

She said: “I’ve never seen so many people attend the event in Costessey.

“This is the third one we’ve done, but the first time the statutory and voluntary groups and the agencies have all come together. The aim is for all the organisations to work together for carers.”

Oli Emes-Ellis works for Connects and Co, a young carers’ support group based in Norwich.

The group’s project manager and founder, Sallie Boyd, said: “Oli was a young carer himself. He looked after his triplet sister with Down’s syndrome.

“He can use that life experience to help our youngsters.

“Youngsters who are carers think they are the only ones in that situation, but people like Oli understand what they are going through.

“He survived and can use that negative experience for something positive. His story is what young carers need to hear.”

Sainsbury’s staff at Longwater in Costessey have planned a range of activities to take place during carers’ week. The store was represented at the open day and on Friday, June 13, the store will be helping the Costessey Carers to raise awareness of the services that are available to offer help to carers.

How are you promoting carers’ week? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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