ONE in seven Copeland/Allerdale workers is caring for family or friends with an illness, disability, addiction or mental health problem.

This caring can impact on all aspects of life including relationships, health, finances and employment.

As part of Carers Week (June 10-16), which has the theme ‘Getting Carers Connected’, West Cumbria Carers is aiming to banish the isolation and physical and mental strains of being an unpaid carer.

And the charity is now running a Workplace Carers Champion scheme which enlists volunteers to become the voice of carers in their workplaces, including establishing a network of Carers Champions and training sessions at Sellafield.

Stephen Scott is leading the Carers Sub-Group at Sellafield. He said: “A workplace carers champion is someone who, through training, is aware of the stresses and strains a working carer may be facing and how West Cumbria Carers can support them.

“It is possible that a carer may not actually identify as such in the workplace, but through chatting with a Carers Champion feels comfortable enough to talk about their caring responsibilities with them.’’

“I volunteered largely through my immediate family experience in calling on carer agencies,’’ Stephen explained. “I am proud to be leading the carer sub-group of volunteers who help signpost to the Sellafield Ltd workforce available help.” and who may have had some experience within their families of requiring caring support.” It also allows us collectively to contribute to the work within the wider community.’’

West Cumbria Carers is also holding activities throughout Carers Week including a Cupcakes4Carers event at the Carers offices at Lakeland Business Park, Cockermouth, next Wednesday between 10am and 1pm.

A spinathon will be held at Workington Leisure Centre on June 11 between 10.30am to 11.30am with the aim of cycling 150 miles for cash. If anyone can spare time to raise money please contact West Cumbria Carers.

The charity is also asking the community to wear pyjamas to their work on Friday, June 14 and donate £1 to the charity.

Angela Longrigg, the volunteer and projects co-ordinator, and Andrea Carlton, adult carer senior support worker, both run the Workplace Carer Champion scheme at West Cumbria Carers.

Angela said: “Caring without the right information and support can be very tough. Having identifiable carers’ champions in the workplace could lead to a culture in which employees talk openly about their caring role, responsibilities and any struggles relating to it.  Carers will know that their employer recognises, and, very importantly, cares about the issues they may be facing. It is important that all carers, including working carers, are able to access support services and information should they need it at any point.”