Carers Week is an important annual campaign to raise awareness of the contribution made by the UK's estimated 6.5 million carers, and the challenges they face.
'Carers are not a separate group in society. Any of us might be or become a carer, many without making a conscious choice to do so or even realising that's what we are. We don't suddenly lose our professional skills when taking on this additional responsibility- indeed we may gain greater knowledge and insight- but the world of work too often loses sight of us. Any change to make working practices more accommodating to carers will benefit us all.'
- Ming Ho, Writer for stage, screen and radio & Raising Films Board member.
This year the focus of Carers Week is to make visible the contribution made by millions every day and we would like to highlight the strength shown by the carers in the performing arts workforce, in the face of the every day extraordinary situations and challenges encountered when caring for an elderly, sick or disabled relative.
The pandemic has been particularly challenging for carers. Carer UK's 'Caring Behind Closed Doors' report found 81% of unpaid carers were providing more care during the pandemic, whilst also coping with reduced access to support from services or family and friends.
New research released for Carers Week (7th - 13th June 2021), reveals 72% of the UK's carers have not had any breaks from their caring role since the pandemic began and PiPA's Covid research highlighted the lived experience of those juggling work and caring for their loved ones:
The pressures of caring in a pandemic, complicated by shielding, resulted in many carers being unable to work or seek what little work was available and falling through the gaps of government support:
The PiPA Covid Report revealed that 72% of parents and carers in performing arts were now considering abandoning their careers in the sector due to the financial, mental and logistical challenges they faced:
The challenges faced by carers in the performing arts throughout the pandemic, coupled with the lack of breaks outlined by the Carers Week research, have resulted in a mental health crisis. PiPA Covid Report saw 52% of respondents report significant mental health concerns, placing themselves in 'damage control', 'really stressed' or 'fight or flight' stages. This figure increases to 81% for carers. One carer stated:
PiPA is here to support carers in performing arts by working collaboratively with the industry to develop and implement strategies for change. If you are a carer, you can find top tips on talking about your caring responsibilties at work, and what adjustments you could ask for to support you here:
This Carers Week, PiPA has also put together a new resource for organisations: Supporting Carers in your Workforce: 5 Top Tips.