Carer Support Dorset has been awarded £4,000 by Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund to support the county’s most vulnerable carers.

The money will be used to launch and run the charity’s new “Here to Talk” service, which is reaching out to unpaid adult carers who are struggling with issues related to Covid-19.

An unpaid carer is someone with a family member or friend who relies on them for their care. This could be a child, parent or partner and the person they care for may have an emotional, physical or mental health condition.

Many unpaid carers are likely to be self-isolating as well as looking after someone who is highly vulnerable. They are at significant risk of loneliness, depression and ill mental health. Many of their traditional face-to-face support networks have been suspended and they are often unable to take a break from their caring role.

Carer Support Dorset’s “Here to Talk” service identifies unpaid carers wishing to have a friendly conversation with someone. Volunteers provide a friendly voice and are non-judgemental.

Rachael Demery, Carer Support Dorset’s Community Fundraising Officer adds:

“Our ‘Here to Talk’ service will help unpaid carers in Dorset reduce their feelings of loneliness, isolation and anxiety during this time so that they can keep well and carry on caring for their loved-ones.

We know some carers will not only struggle now under lockdown measures, but in the aftermath – when non-carers return to ‘normality’ whilst carers stay in a similarly isolated situation caring for their loved-ones.

We are recruiting volunteers who can support 1–2 carers each over the course of 12 weeks. The nature of this project means that it has great potential to be delivered on a long-term basis, and to significantly build our volunteer capacity in Dorset.”

Anna Elston, Manager of Carer Support Dorset, commented:

“We’ve listened to carers and it’s fabulous to be able to provide them with what they say they need during these unprecedented times. We’re absolutely thrilled to have the funds to extend our service in this way”

Carer Support Dorset can be contacted on 0800 368 8349. The charity would also like to hear from anyone interested in volunteering for the Here to Talk service and information can be found here.