Shame stopping Irish carers from seeking support, claim charities

Shame stopping Irish carers from seeking support, claim charities

CHARITIES serving Irish carers in Britain have called for the stigma around the term to be stamped out.

As National Carers Week got underway the Mind Yourself and Irish Community Services charities urged the Irish community to overcome their reluctance to register or classify themselves as carers.

“Studies show that Irish carers are reluctant to identify as a carer or to register as such,” they said this week.

“Rather they consider it a family or personal obligation. However by not registering they are losing out on some valuable supports and entitlements which could assist them in their role.”

The charities came together to spread their message at a carers event hosted by Ambassador Dan Mulhall at the Irish Embassy in London yesterday afternoon (June 10).

There more than 100 carers connected to the London-based Irish charities enjoyed afternoon tea and an opportunity to meet the Ambassador, who thanked them for their commitment to their families and their communities.

Mind Yourself director Claire Barry said: “All too often those that are the carers in our community go unheard, unseen and unsupported. We are dedicating today to the many carers working in the Irish community – honouring their compassion, patience and strength.”

She added: “The key point we want to make is that is to encourage Irish people to register as carers and seek support – for some cultural reason there seems to be some guilt or shame attached to calling yourself a carer. We all have a part to play in helping improve the lives of those who take on a caring role.”

Ellen Stafford, Director of Irish Community Services, also addressed those gathered for the Carers Week event, explaining that the organisation currently has 462 carers and cared for people using their services.

They began focusing on carers after an ICS report in 2004 concluded ‘many Irish people do not see themselves as carers’.

The charity now runs a volunteer sitting in service, carer’s support groups and reminiscence groups as well as offering regular newsletters and telephone support services for Irish people in and around the south London area.

The Mind Yourself charity offers a monthly carers group for Irish people in London.

National Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign in Britain which takes place from Monday, June 9 to Sunday June 15 for 2014.

It aims to improve the lives of cares and the people they care for.

For further information visit