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Tower Hamlets launches new academy to train and support unpaid carers

There are an estimated 25,200 unpaid carers in the borough, providing support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help, as they grow older.

The academy’s training programme was developed together with carers and health and social care practitioners and will include manual handling, first aid, understanding complex and challenging behaviour and IT. It will also run courses in managing health conditions, financial and budgeting skills and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The academy will also provide health education, advice, guidance and real-time support to carers. There will be a focus on ‘self-care’ and wellbeing to help carers build resilience in their caring roles.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets who officially launched the academy on Monday 1 April said: “Unpaid carers play a valuable role in looking after the health and wellbeing of a friend or loved one. It’s important that we support carers to manage the practical and emotional aspects of caring, as well as their own health and wellbeing. I am delighted that this new academy offers a wealth of resources and support from the council and its partners to help carers confidently care.”

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “It’s fantastic to see Tower Hamlets Council supporting unpaid carers in the borough with its new Carers Academy. Caring is an important part of many people’s lives, but it can also bring its challenges, so being equipped with the right knowledge, learning and practical support can make a huge difference to day-to-day life.

It’s great that the Academy will bring carers together and enable them to take care of their own health and wellbeing, which is just as important.”

Carers can contact the Carers’ Centre on 020 7790 1765 or by email 

The centre, at 21 Brayford Square, Stepney, E1 0SG, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am - 5pm, Wednesday 9.30am - 8pm and Saturday 11am - 3pm.

Case study: Carol Tilbury

Carol has been a registered carer at the Carers’ Centre for six years. Carol is a multiple carer for her two sons. One son has a learning disability and one son has a mental health issue.

When Carol first came to the centre, she said she was lost, emotionally worn out, angry and was very frustrated by the previous lack of support. Carol was out of work and was unsure of her future and her ability to continue in her caring role. The Carers’ Centre supported Carol in attaining the appropriate support for both her sons and herself, such as getting social worker support, managing safeguarding issues, benefit advice and claims, leisure activities and emotional support.

Carol has now gone onto educate herself and has achieved forty-two certificates including: understanding autism; data protection; photography; understanding recovery; challenging recovery; the Mental Health Act and poetry. Carol has become an accomplished poet and creative writer and has won an award.

Carol engaged with the Working for Carers project where they helped her write her CV and consider her career options. Carol also engaged extensively with the Recovery College and loves taking part in its educational programme.

She contributes significantly to her local community in a variety of ways, volunteering her time and expertise. Carol has become a volunteer helping the homeless at St Anne’s Church in Limehouse and is a trustee for Outward with the role of advisor to the chief executive.

Carol describes her life as full, enjoys herself and feels happy that she has her life back. 

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