Carers make an incredible difference to the lives of those they support, and Community Action Network (CAN) is joining with organisations around the country to say ‘thank you’ to these unsung heroes, and the organisations that support them, during National Carers Week (8-14 June). We’re also encouraging carers to seek the local support they need, whether that’s expert advice, practical information – or simply a listening ear.

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older. Carers can face significant challenges day-to-day and over recent months, many have taken on new responsibilities as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with more people caring for relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older.

In fact, Carers UK estimates that some 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers in a matter of weeks during the pandemic.

Across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, charities and voluntary groups provide help and advice to carers in a variety of different circumstances.

For those caring for older people, several local organisations provide specialist support and advice. PramaLife is offering a ‘friendship line’ for both older people and carers, and Age UK in Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset continues to provide a valuable source of information and advice for those caring for older people locally.

Help & Care offers support, advice and advocacy to people living with a long-term health condition, people who feel isolated and their carers. The team are working hard to continue offering support during the pandemic – find out more about how they’ve adapted at

 The Bournemouth-based Parent Carer Foundation is run by parents and carers who have children with disabilities, and provides support and a collective voice in the local community. Although some services such as workshops and training are currently limited due to coronavirus, the team are still offering telephone and email support to those who need it – find out more at or email [email protected]

Access Dorset is run by and for disabled people, older people and carers, Normally based at The Bridge at Littledown, Bournemouth, the team are still offering virtual support and advice, as well as interactive Zoom sessions.

In addition to charities and voluntary groups, BCP Council also provides a network of support and information for carers, and is on hand to help during the coronavirus pandemic. CRISP website includes details on the help available, including information on practical issues such as managing finances, crisis support, advocacy services, local support groups and much more –

Karen Loftus, Chief Executive of Community Action Network (CAN) said: “Carers go above and beyond every day for the people they love, and they deserve support and recognition. I was my dad’s carer for 12 years, so understand the joys and stresses this brings. There are so many organisations working to provide support to carers in these unprecedented times. I would urge anyone who has taken on caring responsibilities recently to access support and find the help you need – you deserve it.”