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Carers get backing of centre with a fun week of activities


THE importance of supporting the work of Croydon's army of carers was stressed as Carers' Week was launched on Monday.

The message came from Croydon South MP, Sir Richard Ottaway at the launch event held at the Carer to Carer's centre in Katharine Street in central Croydon.

The centre offers advice and a wide range of support to carers for anything from helping with benefits to one-to-one counselling.

Last year the centre dealt with 15,500 requests for advice and according to centre manager Tina Stracey since January this year the number has already reached half that total.

She said: "It is hard to say why more people are coming to us but it seems as if carers are becoming more aware of what we can offer.

"We are also getting a lot of referrals from the benefits people and the council."

The centre costs around £36,000 a year to run and Carer to Carer relies entirely on its own fundraising efforts and donations from supporters to keep the operation going.

But Sir Richard told the launch meeting, which was attended by the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, carers and centre volunteers, the work the centre is doing is vital.

He said: "There are 35,000 carers in Croydon which means that around 12 per cent of people in the borough are involved in caring in one way or another.

"Caring can be tough; you can't just take time off when you want to and that is where a centre like this is so important in giving carers the support they need whether it is benefits advice, counselling, support groups or day trips away."

The work the centre did, Sir Richard said, put it at the heart of the community.

Sir Richard added the Government's new care legislation required local authorities, for the first time, to provide structured support for carers and was going to do a lot to improve their lives.

He hoped Croydon Council would continue its support for carers.

The launch of Carers' Week was the first official event for the new Mayor.

She said she had been a carer for her mother in India, before coming to the UK. Cllr Shahul-Hameed said: "We don't see ourselves as carers, we see ourselves as daughters, wives or friends.

"That is why events like this are vital to recognise the fantastic support carers give and the work they do."

During this week more than 20 activities are being arranged for carers by Carer to Carer, including healing and pampering sessions and a trip to Bruges in Belgium.

Carers get backing of centre with  a fun  week  of activities

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