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New guide launched to inspire opportunities for carers to get active

A new guide created by Carers UK shows how professionals can make a positive difference for unpaid carers by offering tailored activities encouraging them to get active.  

The Carers Active Best Practice Guide builds on responses from nearly 150 professionals and organisations who are seeing the benefits of improved health and wellbeing outcomes for carers doing more physical activity.   

While many organisations are offering a mix of online and in-person opportunities, nearly one third of respondents indicated that they do not run any physical activities for carers – and that they felt there was more potential for sharing learning and practice.  

There are 5.7 million carers across the UK providing unpaid care for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill. This can often impact their own health, with carers more likely to have a long-term physical or mental health condition, disability or illness when compared to non-carers.   

88% of carers responding to a Carers UK survey said that not having time was the biggest barrier to being active. 71% said they didn’t feel motivated to take part, 67% weren’t able to afford the costs, and 59% had nobody to go with.   

Carers UK’s new guide contains practical tips for professionals to help create inclusive activities for carers. It includes information on removing barriers to exercise, involving other organisations and volunteers, and securing funding. In it, a diverse range of organisations give examples of how they are tailoring support to carers’ needs.   

Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, said:  

“Taking part in physical activity brings huge benefits for carers, helping to combat feelings of loneliness, anxiety and stress, but many carers find it difficult to make time for themselves.   

“Our new guide acknowledges this, as well as the fact that being active means different things to different people. It’s inspiring to see examples of local community groups who are supporting carers to find what works for them and offering the chance to explore a range of options.   

“We hope that by demonstrating the benefits of accessible activities for carers, this will further encourage new opportunities for carers, connecting them to their communities, increasing health and fitness levels, and offering a valuable break from caring roles.”  

Organisations looking for inspiration to encourage carers to be more active should also look out for Carers Active April 2024, a month-long campaign run by Carers UK to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise for carers, which will see a variety of local and online activities take place.   

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Posted: 8th January 2024