Carers Week (7-13 June) aims to raise awareness and highlight the challenges that carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also supports those who may not see themselves as carers, but who do have caring responsibilities, giving them access to much-needed support. This year’s campaign looks to bring people together to ‘Make Caring Visible and Valued’ by highlighting the ongoing challenges carers face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Many of our colleagues are also carers. In recognition of Carers Week, our colleagues Helen, Keeley and Suzanne tell us about the loved ones they care for and the support they receive to balance home and work life.

Helen Bainbridge - carers week 200px.jpgHelen:  
“Mum is a chronic asthmatic. Some of my earliest memories are of breathless gasps directing me to run up and get her pills or inhaler - I never really felt like it was a big problem. Today my 89 year old Mum is still wheezing, has a heart pacemaker, creaks when she walks and is deaf. Despite that, she lives independently and loves to travel. We lost my Dad nine years ago and since then she’s been enjoying travelling the world. 

“Like the rest of us, Covid has clipped her wings and that has been really, really difficult for all of us. Mum wasn’t designed for captivity and has been very lonely and depressed. She doesn’t hear well, so picking up the phone is difficult and visiting to deliver shopping or have a chat has become a daily task for me, and one that isn’t always appreciated! But you can’t just pop in. She needs time and I don’t always have enough of that. Being able to flex my hours and take time during the day to see her for a coffee and a chat has been amazing and so important for both me and my Mum.”

“I joined Hastings in March 2021 and have been so impressed with the company’s positive and inclusive attitude towards carers. At the end of last year, I decided the time was right for me to return to work after a career break of five years. Having previously had a career in personal injury law, dealing with MOJ cases and Fast-Track litigated cases, I was keen to return to a claims handling role in a similar field and am so grateful for Hastings Direct for giving me that opportunity. 

"During my time away, I started a family, and became a proud parent carer to Charlie (5), who has been diagnosed as having Autism and Theo (2), who is developing typically. Whilst I wouldn’t change Charlie for the world, being a parent carer to a child with special educational needs comes with many challenges and can impact on most – if not all – aspects of your life. There seems to be an extra layer of difficulty to everything, such as finding the right school and navigating the bureaucracy of the system, finding the right childminder, and planning how we will manage school pick-ups and holidays, knowing that he would not cope at the various after-school and holiday clubs.  

"During my job search, my confidence took a knock as I felt I was being side-lined for other applicants who had not had a career break. I was self-conscious that my need for a flexible job-role might be seen as unwanted ‘baggage’. But I am now enjoying this new stage in my life, with a new type of challenge and focus and am proud to be a part of such a genuinely inclusive and truly flexible company. Being home-based and working four days a week means I am more able to balance work and family life, and in turn, makes me more productive and committed to being a loyal and hard-working employee."

Suzanne Skilton - carers week 200px.jpgSuzanne:
“Mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, which meant Dad became her carer, but with spells in hospital things began to get worse. Eventually it became apparent that Mum needed full time care and we moved her to a care home. Unfortunately, Mum’s cancer returned and she passed away in December 2020. We have now moved Dad so he was closer to me and my brother. I oversee the health and medical side of things, including prescriptions, doctors and appointments, and my brother looks after Dad’s finances.

I really value the support Hastings Direct offers and the additional resources and information available through Hastings’ partnering with Employers for Carers and Care for Carers. As a member of our Inclusion Council and a Carer Ambassador at Hastings, I feel very proud to be part of a company that recognises the responsibilities carers need to balance outside of work, while still fulfilling their role in the workplace. It’s great to know carers are supported and have information available to them.” 

Providing support
We partner with Carers UK and Employers for Carers, giving all colleagues free membership to both sites for personal use and making sure leaders or colleagues of carers have the information they need. Find out more about Carers Week here