Carers Leeds Supporting unpaid carers Thu, 26 Nov 2020 10:58:08 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Carers Leeds 32 32 129735755 New carers strategy launched in Leeds Thu, 26 Nov 2020 10:58:08 +0000 A new strategy has been launched to put health and wellbeing of carers at the heart of work happening across Leeds.

To mark this year’s Carers Rights Day, the Leeds Carers Partnership has launched a new strategy focused on supporting the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of those providing unpaid care.

With support from the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, the strategy, known as ‘Putting carers at the heart of everything we do’, sets out to support the health and wellbeing of carers and reduce the health and financial inequalities they experience while caring.

The Leeds Carers Partnership, which brings staff from diverse organisations together with carers, has set out six priorities as part of this strategy. These are:

  • Making Leeds a carer-friendly city, for example, by encouraging more businesses to take part in the Leeds Commitment to Carers;
  • Improving identification of carers;
  • Supporting carers to care;
  • Ensuring the right support at the right time for young carers;
  • Amplifying carer voice and involvement; and
  • Influencing change and innovation within caring.

Underpinning these priorities are a series of statements which set out the partnership’s vision for what Leeds could look like for carers.

These statements, which range from having better access to information and advice to feeling recognised and listened to, build on what carers themselves have said is important to them.

With these shared values in place, partners including Leeds City Council, the NHS and voluntary sector organisations will work together to better identify, acknowledge and support carers.

Currently, there are more than 75,000 people in Leeds providing unpaid care, often alongside work or education, for someone who otherwise couldn’t manage without their support.

As part of this strategy, Family Action is delivering the Leeds Young Carers Support Service, which works with practitioners to help identify young carers who may be hidden within their communities, ensuring they have access to the support they need and that their voices are heard.

Organised by Carers UK, Carers Right Day is an annual event focused on ensuring carers are aware of their rights and know where to get help and support.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults and chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“We want Leeds to be a healthy and caring city for all, one which actively works to support the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of residents, which is why I’m proud to support the new Leeds Carers Partnership strategy.

“With the Covid-19 crisis highlighting just how important a role unpaid carers play in our society, putting them at the heart of what we do could arguably not have come at a better time. All too often, carers feel isolated without access to the support and information they need, which is why this strategy’s focus on identifying, acknowledging and supporting carers is so welcome.

“With the support of great organisations across Leeds, I hope that this strategy, and the work that is done to support it, will help carers feel better cared for.”

Val Hewison, Chief Executive of Carers Leeds, said:

“I am proud to work closely with Leeds City Council and our partners to develop this new carers strategy. This isn’t a document to sit on a dusty shelf, it is a real commitment by people across Leeds to do all we can to make a difference to the lives of carers.

“We have worked with carers in Leeds to develop a list of priorities, and this strategy will help to connect all of the brilliant work happening across the city to identify and support carers. Together, we are better.”

Click here to view the strategy.

]]> 0 33839
Service spotlight: Dementia Hub Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:56:18 +0000

We have a wide range of specialist services to meet the individual needs of every carer in Leeds and each month we shine the spotlight on one of our services. This month we’d like to tell you about our Dementia Hub.

Our hub offers information, advice and emotional support to carers who are supporting someone who is living with dementia or memory problems, both under and over the age of 65. We do this via one on one and group support sessions across the city . Our dementia carer training on Zoom is very popular and provide a thorough foundation for any carer wishing to learn more about dementia, coping strategies, services for people with dementia and their carers across Leeds and some important legal and financial aspects of supporting a person with dementia.

Our Dementia Hub is made up of dementia carer support workers, a young dementia carer support worker, volunteer dementia welfare callers and hospital based carer support workers. We work very closely alongside the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Memory Service, Alzheimer’s Society Memory Support Workers, Leeds City Council adult social care and many other organisations across the city.

What’s new?
The dementia carer support service in Leeds has been providing face to face support to unpaid carers for over a decade, with our team leader Lisa being in this role for 18 years. Throughout the coronavirus crisis we have continued to support carers with the same passion as we always have. We have adjusted our groups and training to take place online via Zoom and our 1:1 support to take place via telephone, email and zoom from our own homes. It has been a learning curve but we are thankful that we have been able to continue our work and to keep in touch with carers.

We have recently introduced a carers group for those carers that are new to the service. We continue with our longstanding dementia carers groups such as those taking place in Garforth, Pudsey, Yeadon and the Young Dementia Carers Group. All our carers groups are accessible via Zoom and technical support is available if required. We are also looking at some new and exciting ideas to support our carers. Keep up to date through the newsletter and on twitter @hub_leeds.

What should I expect from the service?
You can expect staff at Carers Leeds to be non-judgemental, friendly and professional. Our goal is to ensure that you as a carer have someone to turn to for support and that you are not isolated in your caring role.How can I get support?
If you are caring for someone who is living with dementia or memory problems and you want to access support, call our advice line on: 0113 380 4300 or email

If you are a professional and would like to make a referral, contact our advice line on: 0113 380 4300 or fill in this referral form.
]]> 0 33623
Alcohol Awareness Week 2020 Mon, 16 Nov 2020 09:59:40 +0000 With this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week it is impossible to ignore the elephant in the room: lockdown and COVID19.

When the first lockdown happened in March (doesn’t that feel like it was years ago, not months?) there were a lot of jokes that “airport rules” apply, and drinking from 10 in the morning was normal now. Whilst people on social media were living their best #lockdownlife, for a lot of people they realised alcohol was a bigger problem than they thought. 

From those who felt unable to cope with the big changes without alcohol, to those who found themselves unable to hide any longer what a big role alcohol already played in their life, lockdown has had a massive impact on peoples’ lives and their relationship with alcohol. In fact, Alcohol Change UK reports just over 1 in 5 people report drinking more heavily during lockdown. One big change we’ve noticed at Carers Leeds is the amount of people who have become Concerned Others basically overnight. People who were unaware of the loved one’s drinking outside of the home, or perhaps did not want to know about it were suddenly forced to confront this.

Lockdown has been difficult for our Concerned Others already known to us too, as face to face support ended and a lot of services unable to work from home, people who have fought to get a support network for the person drinking have lost this all at once. Rehabs units have had to limit the people they could accept, so those who had hoped for recovery felt this was no longer obtainable. A lot of coping mechanisms such as getting out of the house and seeing friends for a weekly catch up had to end, which was a huge loss. Most carers will agree that the small moments to themselves or at a peer support group is what keeps them going, so losing this has impacted on their mental wellbeing.

Although this year has been tough, throughout lockdown we have seen some real resilience and creativity from our Concerned Others too, from using this time to put boundaries in place to picking up new hobbies to cope. To quote one of my favourite podcasts (which has been my lockdown hobby) “Bad times are tough, but not tougher than me”.

If you would like support as someone who is affected by someone else’s drinking, please contact Carers Leeds on 0113 380 4300. If you are worried about your own drinking please contact Forward Leeds on 0113 887 2477.

Kai Markanday, Concerned Others Support Worker

]]> 0 33610
Service spotlight: Concerned others Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:57:51 +0000

We’re proud to support anyone in Leeds who provides unpaid care for another person, but we know that not all carers need that same support. So, we have a wide range of specialist services to meet the individual needs of carers throughout Leeds.

Each month we’re going to introduce one of our services and this month is the Concerned other support service….

Carers Leeds offer support to people affected by the drug and/or alcohol use of someone they know, whether that is a family member, a loved one or a friend. We refer to this group as ‘concerned others’.

Concerned others can face a number of issues as a consequence of another person’s substance use, such as stigma, loneliness and conflict within the family. These consequences can have a direct impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of concerned others, often increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Supporting a family member with addiction can also significantly impact on a family’s finances.

We are here to provide information and support to help concerned others make changes to improve their wellbeing. We also know that changes made by concerned others can often lead to positive changes in the substance user.

The impact of lockdown
During lockdown, a lot of people increased their alcohol or drug use. Families also discovered about existing substance misuse due to longer periods at home together. If you’ve found drugs or alcohol to be a problem or want to help making changes, please contact Forward Leeds on 0113 887 2477.

What’s new?
Our one to one support has now moved to the telephone, and our support groups are over Zoom.
We’re also excited to welcome our team member Eve! Let’s meet her…

“Hi. My name is Eve and I joined the concerned other service at Carers Leeds in September 2020. Although I am new to the team I have worked in the drug and alcohol field both in the community and in various prisons for over 10 years. I find my work really rewarding, and like to be able to log off at the end of the day knowing I’ve helped at least one person.

I live in Wakefield, although I’m originally from Durham and am kept busy at home with my toddler son. I am one of three support workers who make up the concerned other service and work alongside my colleagues Owen and Kai.”

What should I expect from the service?
Our support will always be confidential, non-judgemental, and constructive. We will give you advice and guidance to enable you to make choices to improve your wellbeing, and signpost you to other services to help you build a support network.

How can I keep up to date with changes?
We have a dedicated Concerned Others e-newsletter that you can sign up for. Just get in touch and we will send you 1-2 newsletters a month with information on our support groups, activities, relevant news, and updates with our service. You can also follow us on Twitter @DACarersLeeds. You can also subscribe to the monthly Carers Leeds newsletter here.

How can I get support?
If you live in Leeds and are impacted by someone else’s drug or alcohol use, call our advice line on: 0113 380 4300 or email

If you’re working with a concerned other and would like to make a referral, contact our advice line on: 0113 380 4300 or fill in this referral form.

Meet the team




]]> 0 33442
Creative carers go online Wed, 14 Oct 2020 14:11:39 +0000 Our support for carers has keep going throughout the COVID 19 crisis and in addition to the information, advice and emotional support, we’ve continued to offer online events with carer wellbeing as our priority.

Here, our long standing volunteer and all round crafting superhero Karen, tells us about the vital work she’s been doing to help us support carers through this difficult time.

Hello everyone,

In these trying times we are all striving to find a way to keep our minds occupied and keep our mental health in tip top condition. This is not always easy when faced with months of lockdown and the day to day worry that Covid-19 brings with it.

So, I decided to see if we could take our monthly creative carers online and help carers keep their hands and minds busy. We started doing zoom sessions in July with a tour of Pinterest and how it can give you ideas for making crafts at home. I will not lie and say it was an easy thing to do and there has been a steep learning curve both for me and those who join the sessions each month.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the sessions so far and although it has mainly been about “what you can find on the web” we are venturing into the unknown in November with our first online craft session where participants will be making essential oil diffuser Christmas ribbon trees. We will be sending out packs to carers who register for the session and then hopefully people will be able to work their way through making these while we all are online having our usual chat etc.

One thing that has not changed with our creative carers sessions is the laughter! Every session seems to have its own joyful moments and people always seem to go away with a smile on their faces at the end. As a volunteer, it gives me great joy to see people immerse themselves in these sessions and get away from the stresses and strains of their caring role even for an hour or so. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing people at the end of the session go away smiling and with some new skills.

I have no idea when we will be able to meet up in person again but in the meantime, it is my pleasure to keep people connected through crafts.

Karen Lewis

To get involved in the next creative carers session, visit our events page here

]]> 0 33428
Black History Month Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:06:47 +0000 Every October since 1987 we focus on and celebrate the contributions that people from African and Caribbean origins have made to the society we live in. Each generation, from people who were born here or people that have travelled here, black people have added to the cultural and economic richness that we all share today.  

It is more important than ever that we remember the roots of modern Britain and what makes us British. Recent events, worldwide and in our country has shown us that, as much as we have progressed together, there are some sectors of society that are still intent on creating divisions. Racism and prejudice based on misinformation and lies has resurfaced. It is important that we challenge such views with positivity and inclusion through recognising and celebrating diversity.  

Carers Leeds is proud to be part of a city that has such a wonderful cultural history. We recognise the strengths within families and our communities, but we also recognise the structural barriers that need to be overcome so those families and communities can achieve their full potential. It’s a stark reminder in difficult times that we still have much to do. 

We are Leeds!  

However, this is a month of celebrating Black History. There are many things that as a city we can celebrate. Here is one story that sometimes goes overlooked. In the year that Leeds United returned to the most converted premier league it is poignant to remember Albert Johanneson. Albert played for Leeds United in the early 1960’s. He was seen by many as paving the way for black players that now make up the ranks of the premiership. 

Originally from South Africa Albert came to Leeds in 1961, he was one of the first black players to play in a FA Cup final. His life after football was difficult to say the least but he should be remembered as a pioneer, someone that faced discrimination at its hostile worst but has ultimately contributed to making the sport into what we know as the ‘beautiful game’. 

There is so much going on this month in Leeds, if you want to know more about or remind ourselves of the contributions that have been made check out these events below. 

Steve Taylor, Head of Service Delivery

]]> 0 33315
World Mental Health Day Tue, 22 Sep 2020 07:30:45 +0000 What is World Mental Health Day?

Each year on 10 October we celebrate World Mental Health Day. The aim of this day is to help raise awareness of mental health and for people dealing with mental health problems to live better lives with dignity.

What mental health support do Carers Leeds offer?

We provide support for carers who look after someone experiencing mental health problems, and also work with carers to improve their own health and wellbeing.

Here we introduce Hayley, one of team members who provides specialist support to carers of people living with mental health problems.

‘Hello, my name is Hayley Burke I am a Mental Health and Learning Disability Carer Support Worker.  My role is to support carers of adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues who live in Leeds. I have worked with the team for over 10 years and find it very rewarding. I have a busy home life – with 2 young children and a partner – life is very busy and can be stressful.

The Carers Leeds mental health and learning disabilities services usually offer face to face appointments, carers groups and education courses. However, as lockdown hit, instead of face to face meetings in a variety of places, we have moved to supporting carers online and over the phone.

We understand that by moving things online can cause some barriers and stress for people so we have worked hard to help people through this change. I have been running the learning disabilities carers group through Zoom. We helped provide tablets for people to get online,  IT training and help for people to learn how to use the tablets and have been keeping in contact over the phone with isolated and vulnerable carers.

The virus and all the things associated with lockdown, has created alot of anxiety for everyone and has made many carers jobs even harder – which in turn is having an impact on their own mental health. We would encourage all carers to contact us and ask for help, even if it’s just for a friendly chat.’

Specialist support for carers of people with mental health problems

If you are a person who provides or intends to provide care for another adult with mental health needs, either as a relative or friend who assists that person, then you can identify as a carer.

At Carers Leeds we have four Mental Health Carer Support Workers who are there to support you. They can help you identify the support you need, and work with you to achieve your identified goals.

The support workers are available for you to talk to. They can help you get your views across to staff in mental health services and provide information that will help in your caring role, or support you to understand the health issues of the person you care for. They can offer structured one to one support sessions for an agreed length of time. At present these sessions are being undertaken through Zoom and phone calls until  face to face meetings can resume again due to Covid 19 restrictions.

The mental health care and support workers at Carers Leeds are friendly and proactive. They will always listen to you. The service is confidential and aims to support and signpost you in your caring role.  At Carers Leeds we understand being a carer often places huge demands on your time. We would just ask that if we arrange to contact you and you are not going to be available, then rearrange the time and date to ensure you are able to benefit from our support, and have time to discuss things fully.

The workers can be flexible around your needs. They will look at devising a care plan with you. They can make carers assessment referrals, signpost to other services, provide information about Time for Carers Grants and many other things.

As with all Carers Leeds services, the support we offer is for you, the carer, around your caring role and not the person you care for.

How can I get support?

You can sign up for the Carers Leeds newsletter to keep you informed with all the up and coming events and information.

If you are a carer and you want to access support, call our advice line on: 0113 380 4300 or email

If you’re a professional working with a carer and you would like to refer them, contact our advice line on: 0113 380 4300 or fill in this referral form.

]]> 0 32966
Shutter Stories Wed, 16 Sep 2020 08:21:02 +0000 ‘Shutter Stories’ is a new Skippko photography project open to carers in Leeds.

No previous experience is needed, and Skippko have some compact digital camera’s they can loan if you do not have your own camera, or a camera on your phone.

Participants will be exploring digital photography to document and comment on their personal situations and the world around them during the project.

Skippko artists will support participants in a range of ways, to enable people to develop their skills and knowledge of photography, whilst being connected to other people during a time when we are all mostly at home. The project will have an emphasis on sharing skills and ideas, time for self, reducing stress and being focussed in the moment at an otherwise difficult time.

Programme of activities:

The project will run from October 20 until June 2021 and will be facilitated by Skippko artists Nicki and Sally.  You can take part in the full programme or at intervals that suit you.  All elements are optional, so you can take part in some elements and not others to suit you.

  • There will be 3 photography briefs/themes to give a focus to the photographs. Each brief will run over approx. 2 months. Our first theme will be ‘light and dark’.
  • Artists will provide one to one mentoring, ideas and tutorials to participants either via a conferencing platform such as zoom or via telephone if participants do not have online access.
  • Artists will host group online chats to share images being created, share ideas and to provide social contact between participants.
  • There will be photography trips to explore Leeds public open spaces as lockdown rules allow and as appropriate for individual members. This element will both provide opportunities for different photoshoots as well as the well-being benefits of being outdoors and exploring nature.
  • Skippko will be holding an introductory zoom meeting on Thursday 15 October 2pm when you can find out more and ask any questions.

What happens to the photographs?:

  • Skippko will create an online gallery of images so you can see each other’s work.
  • Skippko will share some of the photographs on our website/blog.
  • Skippko can print a selection of your photographs and send them back to you.
  • Skippko will hold an exhibition of photographs in a city centre venue if possible or online at the end of the project.
  • A printed publication documenting the project and the photographs that participants feel best represent their ideas will be produced at the end of the project.

Contact Details for more information and to register your interest please email/call Cath Brooke, 0113 2345355

]]> 0 33098
Service spotlight: Working carers Tue, 08 Sep 2020 15:27:47 +0000 We’re proud to support anyone in Leeds who provides unpaid care for another person, but we know that not all carers need that same support. So, we have a wide range of specialist services to meet the individual needs of carers throughout Leeds.

Each month we’re introducing one of our services and this month is the working carers service. Take a look at this short video to find out how we’ve been working with employers and working carers during the last few challenging months….

For more information about this service, visit our working carers service page.

]]> 0 32902
‘Windows’: an at home art project with Skippko Arts Team Mon, 24 Aug 2020 07:58:17 +0000 During lockdown Skippko have been exploring different ways of working with communities at a time people cannot meet in person.

‘Windows’ is a creative ‘at home’ project that builds on the essence of Skippko; doing hands on making and sharing stories and experiences. Please see for examples of their other projects.

We have 30 exciting ‘Windows’ packs to send out to carers across Leeds.  The packs will contain all the art materials and instructions you’ll need to get involved.  The materials can be shared with anyone in your household/bubble as they’d love to receive as many artworks back as possible! Packs will be sent/delivered on a first come, first served basis.  No previous art or craft experience is needed.

Everyone is spending so much more time indoors, so they’re asking people to capture the view from their window/s, using acetate, glass pens and glass outliner.  Each window will give an individual perspective but by coming together it will become a shared view.  A collection of images looking out and noticing the details of familiar views; how long do we usually spend really looking at the things on our doorstep?

They’re asking people to look closely at the familiar and the everyday, to notice the colours and forms and the often overlooked… whether that’s the garden, the sky or the neighbour’s bins…

All the artworks created will be gathered back together and made into a group piece of work – a 3D perspex ‘house of windows’, sharing the many views from across Leeds.  The ‘house of windows’ will be on display in Spring 2021 as well as being shared on social media.

We know through feedback from previous work, undertaking a creative activity can help reduce stress, help people focus and be ‘in the moment’ as well as giving people time out for themselves.

Skippko will produce a small booklet that will be printed and posted back out to participants so you will have a record of the project, connecting people across Leeds at an exceptional time.

For more information please contact Cath at Skippko by email or leave a message and your contact number on Skippko’s answerphone and Cath will call you back 0113 234 5355.

]]> 0 32647