To improve the lives of unpaid family carers in the county, Bedfordshire Freemasons has awarded £15,000 to local charity Carers in Bedfordshire, to create a new website which goes live this week.
The charity needed to redesign and develop its website for the thousands of carers locally to be able to access the help and support they need, at the touch of a button.
The pandemic has resulted in carers accessing a lot more information and support online. On top of an increase of more than 1,300 carers registering with Carers in Bedfordshire in the last year, this has brought about a significant rise in demand for services, putting a strain on the previous site.
Head of Bedfordshire Freemasons, Tony Henderson, said: “None of us knows if or when we may become a carer for a family member or friend. Having access to the right information, at the right time, can make a real difference to being able to cope. I am delighted that this grant is being put to such great use.”
The new website, designed by local web design agency Lucky Fourteen, provides information on a wide range of topics from supporting carers’ mental health and how to fill in a carers assessment, to what events and groups are available.
Chris Stelling, CEO of Carers in Bedfordshire, said: “Being a carer is incredibly hard work and time consuming. A number of carers also work, as well as provide personal care and offer emotional and practical support for those they care for, take care of all household tasks and often also manage child care too. Therefore, it is not always possible for carers to contact our offices during typical working hours or attend workshops at specific times.
This means our website needs to be easily accessible and the information quick to find. That was not always possible in its previous format and we are so delighted with the grant from the Bedfordshire Freemasons, to be able to provide a really carer-focused and carer-friendly service. Following our launch further improvements and features to the site will be added. Carers are the unsung heroes, who behind closed doors provide hours of care, some 24/7, for no money and often little or no respite.”
The new website provides a number of fresh features including a live chat function, an events calendar, carer stories, digital resources and a professional area for GPs, health and social care staff, schools and colleges to encourage them to identify carers and signpost them.
Chris added: “In our experience carers often avoid seeking help until they reach crisis point. To encourage them to contact us before then, the redesigned website will be a welcoming introduction to the charity, clearly explaining how we can help and directing them to the resources that would be the most useful. Once they have registered with us, the new discussion group and carers’ portal will help them access tailored information at any time of day.”
To access the new website or to sign up for support visit www.carersinbeds.org.uk
Pictured: Chris Stelling, CEO of Carers in Bedfordshire, with Hugh Love, APGM of Bedfordshire Freemasons