By Alea Ibrahim, Communications Intern for EVOC 150 Heritage Programme
Imagine this: you come home tired after work or school but rather than sit down with a cup of tea, you start your second job, one that does not pay. This job might eat up all your free time that others spend going out, meeting friends or doing whatever they want at that moment.
Imagine every free minute you have is filled with caring for other people. This may stop you pursuing your career goals, limit your access to education and finding employment. This is the daily reality for unpaid carers, many of whom are not financially or socially supported.
Caring has lots of different stories with sad, happy and heart-warming moments but many carers invest their life into their responsibilities, often at the expense of their own health, due to a lack of support. In 2017 Carers UK found that 1 in 4 unpaid carers have not had a day off for 5 which has contributed to the deterioration of their mental and physical health. This year, the Carers Rights Day campaign raised awareness for the wellbeing of carers which sparked EVOC 150’s decision to turn the tables and look after carers for the day.
The EVOC 150 team was joined by therapists offering Indian Head Massages, Reiki and Yoga classes in our meeting rooms. We turned our board room into a relaxation area with spherical sounds, fresh fruit and refreshments where the carers could socialise while waiting on their treatments or chat about their support needs and solutions to Edinburgh Carers Support and VOCAL representatives manning the info stalls.
1000 THANK YOUs
The carers had to brave doomsday-like weather conditions that day to get to our little spa but we had a great turnout and the day was a success. We cannot stress enough how the wonderful support of Edinburgh businesses meant that carers won theatre tickets, restaurant vouchers, coffee mugs or even guided tours and pamper experiences in our free lucky dip and left our office oasis with a smile.
Thank you to our wonderful therapists who made the carers feel so well looked after. One of the business owners keen to support the event referred to carers as “unsung heroes of our society” which is why EVOC 150 wanted to spread some joy and support within Edinburgh’s carer community.
The EVOC 150 project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with thanks to players of the National Lottery.