HAPPY NEW YEAR, to all you wonderful Uxers; aspiring or professional, do we have a treat in store for you! This month, we will be putting on our first UX for Change event as a new team, to share the goodness of UX with a one of a kind charity, Carefreebreaks. They aim to alleviate the strains and pressures on carers physical and mental wellbeing by providing free holiday breaks to carers and their families, with a mission to extend their services to an online platform which can provide an abundance of support and opportunities to the millions of carers in the UK.
Why is the work of Carefreebreaks so vital?
Carefreebreaks have a vision in which they can wholly and compassionatly support carers, so that they can look after themselves first, in order for them to successfully care for others. Take a look at some of the shocking stats in order to gain an understanding of the constant strains that the 6.5 millions unpaid carers in the UK undergo (that’s 10% of the population).
- 80% of all home care is provided by unpaid carers.
- Value to the economy is £132 billion (equivalent to the entire NHS budget).
- 83% of carers suffer from health issues.
- 46% said they have suffered from depression because of their caring role.
- 39% are struggling to make ends meet (Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind, at just £62.70 a week).
- 49% feel neglected by society.
- 25% haven’t had a day off from their caring role for more than 5 years.
- 68% will not take a break this year.
(*An unpaid carer is someone who looks after someone with a chronic illness, disability or other long lasting health or care need outside a professional or formal framework.)
In September 2016, Carefreebreaks carried out a pilot programme in partnership with Kernow Carers Service (Cornwall). A number of unpaid carers were invited to take a week-long break in holiday cottages donated free-of-charge by their owners. For many of them, this was the first time they had taken a break for many years.
Meet some of the carers this wonderful charity have been able to help by providing them with support and a much earned break.
Phil is a full-time carer for his mother who has Alzheimer’s.
“You have to look after yourself before you can look after someone else and I think I had lost sight of that”
Lucy has cared for her mother since the age of 11. She hadn’t had a break for 4 years.
“This week has been an eye-opener. I feel completely refreshed”
Don gave up his job to care for his mother who has Alzheimers. He hadn’t had a break for 9 years.
“We did things we don’t have time for back home like going for a walk. It sounds simple but it’s a huge thing for us.”
Pat’s daughter had meningitis as a child, she has cared for her for the past 50 years.
“This week has been wonderful because I’ve made myself relax. It’s given me time to myself, time to think. I would love to do it again”
To see for your selves the heart warming impact that a short break can have on a carer , please click here to watch a short video.
Why the goodness of UX will be so vital to the development of Carefree breaks and how this will help the carers?
Carefreebreaks need our help to extend as a charity, to start work on building an all encompassing platform, offering continuous support and advice to unpaid carers which will be known under the social platform name of ‘Caremunity’. It will offer diverse content to entertain, inform and educate, including a forum with a support network of other carers, flexible work-from-home opportunities, short breaks and numerous other benefits to address and alleviate the 3 core challenges that face unpaid carers: health, wealth and wellbeing.
Why is it so important that we choose empathy over everything else?
Most of all, we would like to help kickstart the creation of an empathetic online space in which carers can truly feel they are being looked out for. Let us take on the challenge of removing the screen between us to manifest enduring human connection and compassion, in order to alleviate isolation and loneliness that so many unpaid carers face today.
What can you do to help?
Join us for a two hour work shop, led by Mike Abolins, guiding an array of UXers through the challeng of spreading the goodness of UX to carers and their families.