Carers in Bedfordshire Diverse Community project

Carers in Bedfordshire has launched a new support service so carers can talk to a dedicated support worker in Urdu, Punjabi or Bengali, as part of its Diverse Community Project.

The charity launched its new service at a special Zoom event yesterday (Wednesday 31 March 2021), attended by partner organisations and HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis.

Carers in Bedfordshire supports those who care for a friend or family member, who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Funding from the Carers Trust, has enabled the charity to extend its valuable service to carers whose first language is Urdu, Punjabi or Bengali.

Misbah Mehmood, personalised adult support worker at Carers in Bedfordshire, said:

“We have always supported carers from diverse backgrounds, but we found carers whose first language is not English would often have to access our support through someone else. Now they can access the support they need directly through us. There can also be additional challenges for carers from minority ethnic communities.

“They might struggle with language barriers, have difficulty in accessing culturally appropriate services and face stereotyping around caring.

“Carers may also face pressures to keep caring issues ‘in the family’ and be less likely to self-identify. This can mean increased risk of ill health, financial difficulties, and social exclusion.”

As well as dedicated support workers, the charity has produced information leaflets and posters in all three languages, which will be distributed to community venues such as GP surgeries and community centres for carers.

Videos have also been made in the three languages to explain what help is available to carers. The videos feature a character called Sara who feels unsure about seeking help as she feels she should be able to support her parents by herself, but realises she can speak to a support worker in her own language, who will understand her worries and get her access to the support she needs.

The videos are available on social media and the charity’s website.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis said:

“This is a great initiative and recognises that, in all communities, there are people quietly caring for relatives and friends. It is important for carers everywhere to realise that there is help and support available to sustain them through this vital role.

“By reaching out in this way, Carers in Bedfordshire are seeking to engage with all carers to help overcome some of the barriers which prevent carers from accessing the help and services that are available.”

For further information about the project visit the Carers in Bedfordshire website or contact 07824 046590.