Local charity, Crossroads Care Surrey who support unpaid carers to have respite breaks are always inundated with requests for help. With a growing and ageing population, there are far more people year on year requiring care support, with demand outstripping supply.

The charity was forced to cease face-to-face care support services during Covid-19 because of the necessity to social distance. Now, having returned to care in homes once more, many unpaid carers are still shielding and are unable to allow anyone into their homes. As a result, the charity now finds themselves in the unheard-of position of having space to help more unpaid carers waiting to get help.

Crossroads Care Surrey regularly help 850 families each year by taking on a caring role in the home so carers can have a much-needed regular break to take care of their own health and well-being.

Caring unpaid over a long period of time without support can lead to physical and mental ill-health which is why the charity exists. Their vision sees all those who care can stay healthy from regular respite breaks and keep caring with support for longer. With 119,000 registered unpaid carers across Surrey and 2 in every 3 people expected to care in a lifetime, the charity is simply unable to provide help to everyone of them.

During lockdown, the charity quickly adapted their offer by providing outreach help including emotional support through telephone befriending calls and practical help with food shopping & prescription collections for all vulnerable or at-risk people, including carers and their families just to get through the difficult period.

“It’s been wonderful to see the impact of our community outreach support; it’s clearly made a big difference for many families who are caring for loved ones who need to shield or self-isolate due to ill-heath or age. Since the start of lockdown, we’ve made 3,400 befriending calls and shopped for more than 950 families. From 1 June, we returned to caring in the home for 70% of our beneficiaries and we continue to support people with the outreach programme.” Says Terry Hawkins, CEO.

He went on to say: “We received a commitment from local government and health providers that our funding would remain in place throughout Covid-19. We have also been fortunate to secure additional funding through Covid-19 funding grants, which has meant that we have been able to implement new digital systems that has helped us reach out to more carers with befriending and wellbeing calls. Our team have worked extremely hard throughout the crisis, and I am very proud to have witnessed the commitment and kindness they have shown to those who would have really struggled without their support.

 The charity says that not all carers are ready to allow support workers back into their homes. “We obviously want to support those already in the service and many of our regular carers have committed to returning over the course of the next few weeks, but right now, we’re in the unheard of position to be able to offer space for more carers waiting”

 Crossroads say they have caring employees ready to take over caring for a few hours each week so those who care for loved ones can finally get some much-needed respite following the lockdown period.

The charity produced a film depicting their 2020 story so far during Coronavirus.

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