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Sheri, Amna and Ian who feature in Swindon Carers Centre's new film.

What is it like being an unpaid carer?

Three carers share their experiences of caring for a family member in a new film produced by Swindon Carers Centre.

The film, Unpaid carers in Swindon: their stories, aims to raise awareness that people of all ages and backgrounds can become unpaid carers and is being released during Carers Week (June 10th-16th), a national week to raise awareness of unpaid carers.

Sheri, Amna and Ian, (pictured left) are all unpaid carers and are registered with Swindon Carers Centre. In the film they also talk about how Swindon Carers Centre helps them and share tips on coping with being a carer.

Sheri, 26, cares for her parents while also working full-time in sales support. Her mum and dad have a number of serious health conditions. Sheri began caring at the age of four.

She said: “Caring became an integral part of my life – I didn’t know any different. I’ve been very fortunate to have very supportive workplaces. I have my phone on me constantly if there’s an emergency or a family member has a doctor’s appointment I need to be at.”

Amna, 45, is a parent carer. She cares for her 17-year-old son Haris, who has physical and learning disabilities. He has cerebral palsy, Global Development Delay and is visually impaired.

Amna said: “Being a carer is very exhausting and very challenging but, at the same time, it’s very rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Ian, 62, cares for his wife, Lorraine, 63, who has young onset Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia.

Ian said: “It was quite difficult making the transition to being a carer because it was a bit of an unknown. It can also be quite lonely as a carer if you are only with each other’s company. I’ve made friends with other carers and peer support is valuable – it’s reassuring to know you are not alone.”

Susanna Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Swindon Carers Centre, said: “Thank you to Sheri, Amna and Ian for sharing their experiences with us. If unpaid carers did not carry out the roles they do, the cost to health and social care services would be huge. It’s vital carers are valued and supported and Swindon Carers Centre is here to ensure no-one has to go through their caring journey on their own.”

The film, Unpaid carers in Swindon: their stories, can be viewed on our YouTube channel here.

Increasing need for our services

The number of unpaid carers registering with Swindon Carers Centre in 2023/24 increased by 12% (598) on the previous year to 5,524. The charity receives 75% of its income from statutory funders but brings in other income from grant funders and community fundraising for additional projects and to fully cover running costs for all its essential services, including benefit advice, 1:1 support and activities giving carers a much-needed break from their role.

For people wishing to support our charity, we have an online raffle open until June 20th with tickets costing £1 each. Many of the prizes have been donated by local businesses, including Arkell’s Brewery, Bert’s Books, Barnes Coaches, Blunsdon House Hotel, Delta Tennis Centre, Essential Vehicle Services, Oink Gallery and Swindon Town Football Club.

To enter the raffle click here.

During Carers Week, Swindon Carers Centre is holding its Walk a Mile event for carers and supporters. It is on Saturday June 15th starting and finishing at the Swindon Hub, The Parade, Swindon, SN1 1BA. It’s free and registration is from 10.30am with the one-mile walk starting at 11am.