Carers Week 8 - 14 June 2015

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

This year the focus is on building carer friendly communities. Communities that support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Find a Carers Week event near you or get involved by pledging to host an event.

If you look after someone with cancer, we have information and support to help you. Visit our carers section to find out more, or download our practical guide to looking after someone with cancer [PDF].

Carers Week 2015 - building carer friendly communities

Carer friendly communities are aware of the part played by unpaid carers within their community. They have some understanding of a carer's daily reality, that they can be under a lot of pressure, and are often hidden from view.

When a community is carer friendly, every corner – from the hospital, workplace, primary school, to leisure services and beyond – will be geared towards addressing the needs of carers. This means that if you're caring for someone unpaid, local services and systems will remove obstacles and make sure things are done differently so your life is a little bit easier.

'Doing things differently' could include an employer creating carer friendly policies by listening to the experiences of their workforce, or a GP practice offering alternative appointment times to carers unable to attend due to their caring responsibilities.

Carer friendly communities reach out to support carers where they can. Working together, Carers Week and all the partner organisations are committed to building communities like these.


Get involved in Carers Week

There are many ways to get involved in Carers Week. You could:

  • plan or attend an event
  • get involved with local Carers Week activities
  • get active on social media
  • let those who look after someone with cancer know support is available.

Visit the Carers Week website to find ideas, or for some more inspiration see who has already pledged their support.


Carers Week events

Events will be taking place all around the country during Carers Week and will include everything from social activities, such as pub quizzes, picnics and pampering sessions, to expert and support events. There are loads of ways you can get involved. Find an event near you.

Free resources and support

For free promotional posters, a step-by-step guide to running an event and a range of free information resources, please visit our be.Macmillan site.


Programme and updates

Each day of Carers Week has a specific theme. We will update you with what we have been doing as the week progresses.


Monday: Launch day

Macmillan attended the parliamentary launch of Carers Week alongside alongside Carers UK, Carers Trust, MS Society, Independent Age, Age UK, and around 150 MPs.

It was a fantastic opportunity for us to discuss the issues facing cancer carers and really highlight the need for greater identification and support.

Victoria Maclean, Macmillan’s Carers Support Project Officer, has first-hand experience of caring for her father, she said:

'With this experience, it meant that I could speak to MPs about the realities of looking after someone with cancer and I hope being able to put a voice to carers had a greater impact for them.'


Tuesday: NHS and Social Care

We attended the ‘Building Carers Friendly Communities’ event in Cardiff Bay, hosted by the Wales Carers Alliance. Carers supporting people with a range of needs shared their experiences with an audience of peers, policy makers, politicians and third sector support services. The event included speakers such as Professor Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales, who noted the vital contribution carers made within communities and stressed the importance of supporting them.

Gaynor Thomas, who cares for her husband, represented Macmillan and spoke openly for the first time about the realities of her experience. She gave insight into the challenges of providing personal care and the feelings of isolation she initially felt. Reflecting on the support she received from Macmillan, she said:

'Macmillan in Bridgend is my haven. They are my security blanket.'


Wednesday: Carers in the workplace

We were in Westminster again today for a roundtable event with our fellow Carers Week charities and new Minister of State, Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP. On the agenda were Alistair Burt’s comments on the Government’s early thoughts on carers, as well as discussions on:

  • the shared vision for Carer Friendly Communities
  • building a carer friendly NHS
  • the role of local government and employers.

Elsewhere, there were discussions in Scottish Parliament at Holyrood focussing on the importance of supporting carers of all ages, and raising awareness of their valuable role.


Thursday: Carers in education

To mark today's theme of carers in education, Gabby from Macmillan has written a guest blog for our Online Community.

As a young adult carer in education, she talks about how caring has affected her life choices and the person she is now. Gabby writes, 'One of the best ways I think charities can help carers, is to spread an awareness of what it's like to be a carer.'

You can read Gabby’s blog here, and hear a group of young carers talk about the challenges of looking after someone with cancer at a young age and the importance of getting support at macmillan.org.uk/youngcarers.


Friday: Older carers

We visited St George’s Hall in Liverpool alongside a host of carers support organisations to talk to carers and celebrate their contribution to the community.

Macmillan’s services across the UK have been showing their support for carers all week. Our Mobile Information and Support buses have been out and about creating carer friendly communities on high streets across the UK, and our information centres have been welcoming carers to find out more about how we can support them.


Saturday: Carers and families

When Ian's wife Kate was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 30, it was a huge shock. And they were devastated when they found out it was incurable. Thankfully Kate's Macmillan nurse Vikki was there for them.

'You can't prepare for a cancer diagnosis. But the best people to support you are people who know what they're talking about - people like Macmillan.'


Sunday: Celebration

Reflecting on Carers Week 2015, Charlotte Argyle, carers Support Project Manager, said:

'Thanks to everyone who’s been involved in making this a successful Carers Week for Macmillan. From the colleagues and carers who influenced MPs at parliamentary events, to the professionals who held events to reach out to hidden carers, you have all made a real difference for cancer carers. Thank you to the carers themselves for all you do to look after those close to you with cancer. We hope you have had a good Carers Week, and please keep in touch with Macmillan to receive support all year round.'


Tell us what you’ve been doing by tweeting @MacCarers and @carersweek, where you’ll also find tweets raising awareness of the issues and support available around each theme.


Do you look after someone with cancer?

If you look after someone with cancer, you may not think of yourself as a carer. You may say 'I'm just being their husband, partner, daughter or friend ...' Yet the support you provide is vital - from helping with shopping, dressing, or taking them to the hospital, to being there when they need to talk.

If this sounds like you, you're not alone. There are more than one million carers in the UK in a similar situation – people who look after someone with cancer who couldn't manage without that help. We understand how looking after someone with cancer can completely take over your life and we’re here to give you the support you need to feel more in control.

Find support

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the support we offer to people looking after someone with cancer, see how we can help or call us on 0808 808 00 00. You can also visit one of our information and support centres to speak to someone face-to-face.

Are you a carer?

Are you a carer?

We're here to give you the support you may need to make sure no one faces cancer alone.

Find out how we can help

Are you a carer?

We're here to give you the support you may need to make sure no one faces cancer alone.

Find out how we can help


Back to If you're a carer

Being there during diagnosis and treatment

When the person you care for is having tests or being treated for cancer, you may face a range of practical and emotional issues

Making decisions about care

If you’re a carer, you may sometimes find it difficult to know how much support you should and can provide.

Talking about your caring responsibilities at work

You don’t have to tell your employer about your caring responsibilities, but if you do, it can help them support you.

Caring if the illness gets worse

If cancer gets worse, you may no longer be able to care for your loved one at home. Support is available to help you.

Making decisions about work

If you’re a carer you may want to stop working temporarily or completely. It’s important to consider the implications of your decision.

Your rights at work

It's important to be aware of your legal rights as a carer. Your human resources department may be able to help you.