This week is Carers’ Week, when we take time to recognise the phenomenal job, paid and unpaid, that millions of people do across the country. Around 9.1 million people are carers and 4.5 million became carers over the last few months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of them juggle their work responsibilities with their caring duties on a daily basis. We must do more to support these amazing people, many of whom experience social isolation and mental ill-health as a consequence of their caring responsibilities. Carers play an immensely important role in our lives and the lives of our loved ones and we must ensure that there is someone who will care for their wellbeing as well. I think this pandemic has shown us all that while for many a life in any of the caring professions is a vocation and for some the fulfilment of not only years of work but also a childhood dream, it does involve immense personal sacrifice. We must support our carers.
This week I was pleased to meet with Pat Dunmore, Making a Difference Manager, and Yasmin Zahra, Research Officer, from Citizens Advice Swansea Neath Port Talbot. It was great to speak with them to hear more about the work that they’re doing with our local community and across the area at this difficult time. It’s vital that people are able to access the support that they need now, and in the weeks and months ahead. The coronavirus pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on household finances and Citizens Advice Cymru are concerned about the financial impact on families, particularly when the support packages from the UK Government stop. In Wales, an estimated 300,000 people have fallen behind on one or more household bills, a third of renters have fallen behind on rent payments, and those shielding or in insecure work are likely to be most heavily impacted by this crisis. I will continue to work with Citizens Advice Cymru to ensure that constituents know where they can find support. You can visit their website here and find contact information for phone, online chat, and their Universal Credit Help to Claim service here.
It’s Diabetes Week and Diabetes UK are raising awareness about what diabetes is and how they support those living with it. Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood sugar level is too high. It’s fairly common in the UK, with 1 in 15 people living with the condition and a further million living with Type 2 who have not been diagnosed. Diabetes is a serious condition that can damage your heart, eyes, feet, and kidneys but with the right treatment and care, people can live a long and healthy life. This is where Diabetes UK can help. They’re there at the end of a phone on their helpline, in local support groups, and offer advice and information online on how to live a healthy life with the condition. For more information, visit their website here.
On Monday, it was World Oceans’ Day. It’s been incredible to see the images of how the coronavirus lockdown has led to a flourishing of our natural environment. From dolphins appearing in the now clear waters around Venice to the smog drastically lessening above our major cities, it’s clear for all to see the impact we have on the world around us. World Oceans’ Day 2020 is calling on world leaders to protect 30% of our ‘blue planet’ by 2030. By safeguarding at least 30% of our land and ocean through a network of highly protected areas, we can help ensure a home for all. But oceans aren’t just a vital habitat for other species – they’re also important for our health. I was surprised to learn this week that organisms discovered at extreme depths are used to speed up the detection of Covid-19 and that they provide most of the oxygen we breathe. We must do more to protect the oceans and the animals which inhabit them.
As you may have seen, the Welsh Government now recommends wearing a three-layer face covering when in public. This is not mandatory in Wales and the best way to protect yourself from the virus is still to maintain 2-metre social distancing and practise good hygiene, washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face. This, of course, only applies to people not showing signs of the virus; should you be symptomatic, you should stay at home for seven days and get a test, and not go out during this time until a test shows a negative result.
As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.
I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend and, remember – stay local, protect the NHS and save lives.