A Week for British (and Aussie) Carers

Carers Week, an annual campaign that celebrates and recognises the valuable contribution that people make when they look after an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend, is nearly upon Britain. 

And while the event has yet to attract the interest of the country’s big media outlets, its notices in the community press are something to be heartened about—at least if one lives in the UK and not New Zealand. 

It has been estimated that there are 6.5m carers in Britain, with another 6,000 people taking on new caring responsibilities each day.

With this in mind, the week starting June 9 has been designated as a time to think about ways to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for.

It does this by raising awareness of carers at a national, regional and local level. Hundreds of organisations and individuals will join in this year.

During the third week of October, Australia marks a similar week to focus attention on unpaid carers who, it is estimated, provide 1.3bn unpaid hours of care each year, conservatively valued at $40bn.

A participatory event will encourage people across the country to “Take a Break for Carers,” in their workplaces, schools, universities, and community organisations.

Could New Zealand put on something similar to show care for our carers? We probably shouldn’t hold our breath. 


  David Cohen is a Wellington based journalist and author who often writes about health, ageing, and disability topics.