The national charity Carers UK has been celebrating this week after delivering their 500th online meet-up for unpaid carers.
‘Care for a Cuppa’ is one of the charity’s weekly meet-ups which gives carers a virtual space to take a break and chat to people who understand what they’re going through. These sessions began in April 2020 to help carers who were feeling isolated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are now between four and six sessions a week of this kind, which are attended by carers from all over the UK.
Together with virtual Share & Learn sessions which aim to foster carers’ health and wellbeing, develop their skills and provide them with vital information and support, Carers UK’s Care for a Cuppa meetups have seen carers join more than 7,000 times. 93% of attendees say they feel better for joining the sessions, benefitting from being able to speak openly with other carers and receiving emotional support from people who understand their challenges.
Jaycee, a carer who regularly attends these events commented:
“As a carer, I received no training on managing difficult emotions and coping with the ongoing pressure and responsibility of caring for loved ones. But through connecting with a positive network of support with other carers, I have gained strength in knowing that I am not alone.”
Annette cared for her late mother for more than 11 years and sought support from Carers UK following her mother’s death. She added:
“The past 12 months or so have been the most challenging, sad and life-changing months of my life. Having cared for my dear mum for the past 11½ years, my role as a carer came to an end on 20 June 2022. The loss was immense and left a huge gaping hole. I felt alone and all at sea.
“I turned to Carers UK, and I’m so immensely glad that I did. I found a welcoming community of caring people who simply understand. Carers UK is amazing and really kept me going when I was struggling in the early months of my grief. I joined in Care for a Cuppa sessions and took part in numerous Share and Learn sessions, which gave me a focus and really helped to keep my spirits up. I also made use of the Helpline and Listening Support Service. I can’t recommend Carers UK highly enough.”
To celebrate the 500th online meetup there was some uplifting singing arranged by a regular attendee, Norman Blackmore, who joined from Wales. The group also spent some time reflecting on what the sessions have meant to them.
If you care for a loved one and are interested in meeting with other carers in one of the Care for a Cuppa meetups, you can find out more on the Carers UK website.