Thank you to all of our carers, trustees, staff and supporters who joined us for our 2016 AGM, which was held on Friday 25th November to coincide with Carers’ Rights Day.
This year we were treated to a fantastic drama performance by students from Northumbria University’s Drama and Performing Arts Degree courses who staged a drama based on carers’ issues and experiences. For the past 6 weeks, the students have been researching, interviewing both carers and support workers here at GCA, attending carers’ trips and activities and really immersing themselves into the world of unpaid adult carers. This research and understanding enabled them to write a highly polished drama that highlights the issues that carers face on a daily basis through their emotive and often humorous performance.
We were thrilled to be working with the students which all stemmed from a talk delivered to them by our CEO, Steve Cowen. Most of the students had never heard of unpaid carers and did not know anything about the issue. When hit with the statistics that there are over 6.8million people in the UK providing unpaid care for a loved one (of which 22,000 unpaid carers are in Gateshead), they were shocked!
Our hope is that their performance, which has been filmed by Northumbria University, can be shared and will help to inform us all about the issues and equip us better with understanding and positive steps that we can all take to help each other.
As part of our AGM celebrations our Chair of Trustees, David Clelland, proudly presented our 2016 Volunteer Awards in recognition of our carers who give back to the community through their volunteering for GCA in addition to their caring role. This year the Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award was given to a group of 9 carers who have formed the Created by Carers group. Throughout the year they have worked so hard making a wonderful range of arts and crafts, which they have taken to various events and fairs in our community, with all proceeds being donated to GCA to further fund the groups’ activities. A further 15 carers were also duly recognised with Volunteer 2016 Awards and we are grateful to each and everyone one of them. Congratulations to all of them!
Our thanks also go to the Somosa Sisters who provided the delicious food for our AGM and for which we received so many wonderful comments.
2016 has been an even busier year for Gateshead Carers which an ever increasing demand for our services but we are delighted to have been there to provide information and support to the carers of Gateshead and look forward to another busy and successful year to come.
3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives and it is estimated that by 2037 there will be 9 million carers in the UK. Following a survey in 2010, the BBC estimated that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK. Based on Census figures there are estimated to be at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16–25. Estimates show that the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives is equivalent to £119 billion every year (Valuing Carers Leeds University / Carers UK 2011). Gateshead Carers currently supports over 3,500 carers living and or working in Gateshead, a borough that has more carers than the national average. 11.1% of the population of Gateshead have a caring role, which is significantly higher than the national average of 10.3%.