Dear Carers,

As we start to settle into the new year, we continue with the struggles of COVID and the uncertainty it brings. We struggle to see some of the divides that are happening between those who feel ‘COVID safe’ and those who don’t. We know that for many carers there are still very real concerns about COVID and the impact that having the disease could have on the people they care for. We continue to push the Government to consider carers in their decision making – to ensure access to vaccines, PPE and RATs for those who need them most, to provide accurate and timely information and support. We will continue to advocate, speak and represent the concerns we are hearing to ensure that you have the supports you need and are not forgotten as we move into a post pandemic world.  

Within Carers ACT we have slowly and carefully started to resume in-person activities where possible, to give carers a chance to engage with each other on a more personal level where they feel comfortable. As per the public health advice, we will continue to implement COVID-safe measures and require that masks be worn at all times during these activities to ensure the safety of participants and staff. We ask that you consider other carers and the people they care for by not coming to a Carers ACT venue or event if you are not feeling well.  

This month we are once again launching the Carer Wellbeing Survey which asks carers to share your experiences. I encourage you to take part in this important survey, as it will shape the services to support the wellbeing of carers, ensuring you have a good quality of life while providing support to the people you care for. 

We have started a campaign on the Cost of Caring in the ACT, asking Members of the Legislative Assembly to provide funding and support for the implementation of the ACT Carer Recognition Act and the ongoing implementation of the ACT Carers Strategy. We are using the data from the 2020 Carer Wellbeing Survey to demonstrate the impact of caring on people in the ACT and to debunk some of the myths about caring (such as the availability to call on help from family and friends which more than 25% of you said you couldn’t do). We want to raise awareness of carers within the ACT and to have our decision makers understand the impact of caring. 

A massive congratulations to our Mental Health Carers Voice team who conducted a very successful conference for mental health carers on 18 Feb. The day was attended by over 100 people who learnt about new initiatives and supports, built connections with each other, were inspired and challenged and who shared compassion in listening to each other’s stories. I want to leave you with the concept that was most inspiring to me from the day. Petrea King (Quest for Life) talked about the concept of filling your bucket first so that you can give to others from the overflow. Just a different way of looking at self care. We often think about meeting everyone else’s needs first and leaving mine to the end. Turning that on its head and thinking about how much more effective I could be if I filled myself first and then gave what was left to others has certainly left me pondering.  

Please do not hesitate to call on us if you need assistance, support or information. Should you need support in accessing vaccinations or testing, we are also on hand to provide assistance. You can call us on (02) 6296 9900, email carers@carersact.org.au, or get in touch with your care planner who can directly assist you. 

Sincerely,

Lisa Kelly
CEO

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