Not all superheroes wear capes - and now we must support carers more than ever - Laura Collins, YEP editor

Carers are the backbone of our society but - at the start of Carers Week - millions more are caring for loved ones during the pandemic
Millions of people make up the unsung army of carers across our country. Credit: GettyMillions of people make up the unsung army of carers across our country. Credit: Getty
Millions of people make up the unsung army of carers across our country. Credit: Getty

My mum is my superhero.

She has a rod of iron running through her core and is one of the strongest women I know.

Every day has been a battle, she’s had to dig deep but she refuses to be a victim of the hand she was dealt.

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Over the last four decades she has selflessly dedicated her entire life to caring for my severely disabled sister.

She relies on my mum for everything from getting dressed, walking across the road, eating and even going to the toilet.

It’s part of our lives and my mum is the glue that keeps our wonderful family together.

Over the last 40 years she has fought tooth and nail to make sure that my sister has the best possible life - and she’s done a remarkable job in doing so.

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But since the pandemic broke out my parents have become a human shield for my sister.

And they won’t be alone.

Carers are the absolute backbone of our society.

They are one of millions of families who are caring around the clock to support their loved ones - often with very little help or recognition.

New figures released today - at the start of Carers Week - show that millions of people across the country have become unpaid carers for loved ones during the coronavirus outbreak.

Around 4.5 million more people are now caring for older, disabled or seriously ill family or friends as a result of the pandemic.

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This is on top of the 9.1 million people who were already caring for loved ones before the crisis erupted.

Six charities supporting Carers Week are now calling on the Government to deliver a plan for social care reform and set out long-term investment in care and support services, to give unpaid carers the opportunity to take breaks and stay in paid work if they want to.

The charities also want an increase in Carer’s Allowance - currently £67.25 a week - and a “one-off coronavirus supplement” in recognition of the role unpaid carers have played in the pandemic and the significant costs associated with caring.

This hidden army of carers are remarkable.

While we think of key workers as being those incredible people manning the frontlines in our communities, we must spare a thought for those exceptional carers who are fighting their own battles out of sight.

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Over the coming weeks the Yorkshire Evening Post is looking to celebrate and recognise those wonderful people across our city who have made such a difference during the crisis as part of our Big Thank You.

And, as part of that, we want to celebrate the wonderful carers who continue to inspire others every day.

It’s a small gesture but one that will mean so much to those who really are our city’s hidden superheroes.

And out of the chaos the pandemic has caused it’s only right that the Government looks at delivering a long-term plan for social care reform.

Surely they owe it to that unsung army of carers - like my dedicated parents.

Not all superheroes wear capes or shout from the rooftops but out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind.