Carer Support Dorset and Carer Support Wiltshire’s ‘More Than a Carer’ campaign took flight last Summer during Carers Week. The aim was simple – to recognize the incredible individuals behind a person’s caring role.

When you care for someone, it’s natural to feel like your own identity fades into the background. Often your whole world revolves around the person you care for, leaving little room for the unique qualities that define you. We wanted to change that. We wanted to celebrate YOU, not just your caregiving role. Because we’re not just carers – but also work colleagues, mothers, sons, and friends. We’re creative, smart, and loyal individuals that deserve to be recognised as such.

For our campaign, we photographed carers from all walks of life and paired their pictures with words they use to define themselves – going beyond ‘a carer.’ We also conducted a survey, inviting others to share how they see themselves beyond their caregiving responsibilities. The responses we received were diverse and eye-opening.

One respondent, Michelle, beautifully put it: “‘I am a carer but I’m also me! I juggle full time work, have a grown-up family, a partner, and friends I don’t get to spend time with like I used to.’ She said she enjoys doing ‘everything’ with the person she cares for ‘for the short time we have’, and that her family describe her as ‘a legend’ as well as loving, caring and fun.

Tom McGowran from Marlborough and is one of the carers featured in the More Than a Carer campaign (picture below). He said: “Years ago, I did not think of myself as a carer. The label never occurred to me. I always thought carers were nurses or similar who considered it their job to care for people professionally. Somehow over the years I have become that carer looking after my wife who has Muscular Dystrophy.” Still nothing stops Tom or his wife from enjoying their life together! They have been up mountains in the French Alps, been to the Arctic Circle and toured the Outer Hebrides in their accessible motorhome! Tom is not just a carer but also an explorer, a traveller, and a loving husband.

Others responded by emphasizing their roles as artists, business owners, husbands, and writers. And one person aptly exclaimed that they were an individual in their own right, separate from the person they care for.

Running alongside our ‘More Than a Carer’ campaign, we revamped our ‘Wish I’d Known’ campaign, answering carers 2022 ‘wish I’d known’ with information about how we had taken action to ensure that future unpaid carers won’t have those lingering “wish I’d known” moments.

One of the top concerns expressed was the lack of awareness about accessible training workshops for carers. So last year, we organized a whopping 40 training sessions especially for unpaid carers! These workshops aimed to leave carers feeling more informed and confident in their caring role.

We also continued asking carers for their personal ‘wish I’d knows’ via postcards out in the community and an online survey. To ensure every unpaid carer knows their rights, we also distributed an informative leaflet, that came to be through the valuable input we received from numerous carers right here in Dorset during our ‘Wish I’d Known’ campaign.

You can add your voice to our More Than a Carer campaign by completing the survey here. If you would like to let us know your ‘Wish I’d Known’ you can access the survey here. Or you can get in touch to tell your story today by emailing or calling 0800 368 8349.