Carers Leeds: Tackling loneliness among unpaid carers

Street sign for Carers Leeds

Centre for Ageing Better Images - Pictures Peter Kindersley

Carers Leeds is a charity that provides information, advice and support to unpaid adult and parent carers across Leeds. Nikki Pattinson, Team Leader of Carer Engagement, shares with us findings from the Carers Leeds 2022 Annual Survey and how the organisation is helping to tackle loneliness amongst unpaid carers in the city.

Learning from our unpaid carers

Our vision at Carers Leeds is that all unpaid carers in our city are recognised, valued and supported to live a fulfilling life.

At the end of 2022, we surveyed unpaid adult and parent carers in Leeds. Our aim was to understand what unpaid carers were most concerned about; their experiences as unpaid carers and what matters most to them.

523 unpaid carers responded to the survey, with four main areas standing out. Unpaid carers shared with us their worries about money, work and the cost of living, access to support, their health and wellbeing and social life and relationships.

Many unpaid carers told us they are missing out on doing things for themselves, such as social activities or taking a break, because of their caring role. 31% of unpaid carers in our city told us that they often or always feel lonely. Only 26% of unpaid carers felt connected to, or part of their community and just 21% regularly participated in social activities.

Being with others

As well as conducting our annual survey, we also asked unpaid carers who attend our groups to share their feedback.

Over 70% of unpaid carers who attend 1 or more of our groups told us that the groups have a moderate to substantial positive impact on their own wellbeing, and their feeling of isolation. We also asked what unpaid carers value the most about the groups, with ‘support from others in similar situations’ coming out on top.

One group attendee shared with us the following quote ‘Learning that I am not alone and there is support out there gives me reassurance that help is available when needed.’

Tackling loneliness

Many of our services are aimed at reducing social isolation and loneliness for unpaid carers.

Our befriending project offers a listening ear for unpaid carers to talk about their caring role, their own health and wellbeing and to help make social contacts in their local area.

We also run a range of carers support groups and other more informal social groups across the city, bringing unpaid carers together in a safe space, where they can share their experiences. The organisation also has a proud history of volunteering, with many of our volunteers being unpaid carers themselves.

Whilst our survey findings show us the challenges unpaid care can have on individuals, our services are some of the ways we can reduce social isolation and tackle loneliness, which can help unpaid carers lead a more fulfilling life.

For more information on our work, please visit the Carers Leeds website or give the Carers Leeds Advice Line a call on 0113 380 4300 (please note our services are only open to people living or working in Leeds).

You can also read the Carers Leeds Annual Survey 2022 report.

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