UNPAID carers across the district are being assured that help is at hand during the coronavirus crisis.

The Carers’ Resource charity – which covers the whole of the Bradford, including Wharfedale and Skipton areas, plus Harrogate – is continuing to provide information, advice and a listening ear.

Chief executive, Chris Whiley, said: “Our offices are closed to the public but staff are working from home to deal with phone calls and electronic queries – and we are linked-in with the official district coronavirus response led by the council.

“We aim to continue providing a service no matter what the situation.

“We offer support with filling in forms, give a listening ear to carers – even if they just want to let off steam – and have a useful form that can help unpaid carers plan for the possibility of someone in the household contracting the virus.

“Also, we have advice for working carers and we’re signposting people to where they can get help with shopping and other normal practical things that are now proving to be more difficult.

“People registered with us are able to ask for a letter to show they are a carer when wanting to access shopping times for vulnerable people, or should they be challenged for whatever reason. Carers who are not already known to us can call their nearest office or self-refer using the form on our website.

“Any messages left will be responded to as soon as possible, and we want people to contact us no matter how many hours they care or whether the person they care for lives with them or not. We are very mindful of the fact some carers have loved ones in care homes or isolated in their own homes, and that is a real worry for them.”

Some staff will still be able to visit people in their own homes, but only in exceptional circumstances and at the householder’s request.

Ms Whiley added: “As this crisis continues, so will the pressure on carers and families. We want to urge unpaid carers to contact us for information, advice or general support at any time.”

The charity also supports young carers, who are aged under 18 and look after a parent or sibling who has a physical or mental illness, misuses drugs or alcohol, or has a disability.

Ms Whiley said: “Young carers can have lots of different responsibilities such as chores, looking after younger siblings, providing personal care and giving emotional support.

“The support for these young people has moved to online and telephone.

“We are calling all the families of young carers who we usually see one-to-one and those who come to our youth clubs and we are using Facebook and our website to ensure carers have links, especially to mental health support.”

Fun activities and challenges for young carers, such as egg and potato decorating and photo competitions, are also being staged.

And ventures in the pipeline include a virtual fancy dress contest and the creation of a photo montage featuring young carers with ‘thank you’ signs made for NHS and other key workers.

Another feature of Carers’ Resource is a not-for-profit paid-for regulated care service.

Care@Carers’ Resource supports people in their own homes with personal care, shopping and medication.

Head of care, Sam Dawson, said: “The current situation has been – and continues to be – a challenge, and we have all hands to the deck.

“We have all been out supporting clients and giving them reassurance, while following Government and NHS guidance.

“We have continued to deliver all critical calls, personal care, medication and hygiene cleans and have delivered shopping for our self-isolating customers and carers. We are also giving telephone support calls to talk through tasks with customers who are a little more independent but need that help. For example, I did a WhatsApp video call to help someone cook.”

To contact Carers’ Resource, visit carersre source.org/contact or call 01274 449660, 01423 500555 or 01756 700888. The charity also has Facebook and Twitter accounts, and a website for young carers at youngcarersresource.org.