As the UK enters its third lockdown, national charity Revitalise wants to ensure that the struggles facing disabled people and their carers during the pandemic are not forgotten. A new video highlights the trials and tribulations of lockdown as seen through their eyes – with a little help from a team of celebrity readers.
The video features often intimate, revealing and personal stories or poems, submitted for a competition called Revitalise 500, describing in under 500 words the highs and lows of lockdown, both the humour and the tears.
Revitalise CEO Jan Tregelles said:
“We were really pleased to receive some genuinely humorous, touching and heartfelt submissions for our Revitalise 500 competition, and we think this video captures the best of them, giving the viewer a window into the world of disabled people and their carers during the pandemic
Home carers are amazing, talented people and we’re proud to shine a light on their stories. Congratulations to the winners, we look forward to welcoming you to Revitalise soon.”
The winners of the competition were selected by a team of celebrity judges and supporters, including comedian Alexei Sayle, BBC Radio 2 DJ Mark Radcliffe, Paralympic Gold Medalist David Smith MBE, actor Peter Polycarpou and actress Carol Royle, with excerpts of the top ten entries featuring in the video.
The winner, a poem called ‘Funny, yummy, disabled, single Mummy (a lockdown lament)’ and written by Sam Hinton, was chosen as the favourite choice. Sam will receive a 7 day respite break at the Revitalise centre of her choice and second and third have won £250 and £150 Revitalise vouchers respectively, which can be put towards their next Revitalise visit.
Revitalise launched the competition as part of its #CareforCarers campaign, aiming to raise £1 million to support carers and their loved ones to access respite care breaks following lockdown.
A new report from Carers UK revealed that 81% of carers want to go into the New Year with a clear sense that the government values carers and will provide more support and recognition.
There are an estimated 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK today, of which 4.5 million became carers since the pandemic began. One carer, Hilary, has been looking after her disabled son, Shaun, for 15 years following an accident during a holiday in Ibiza. Hilary has faced enormous challenges since the start of the pandemic.
Carer Hilary said:
“I try to keep myself calm, and tell myself I know I’m not the only one struggling like this, but I just can’t physically do it. It’s a desperate thing, we both just urgently need a break.”
I’m never, ever, going to give up on my son. Life is too short you know; you need to keep fighting.”
Another carer, Tracy, cares for Conor, her son. She said:
“I am just drained physically. It’s a terrible feeling waking up and being tired. I’d like to see the Government live in my shoes for a week”.
The celebrity panellists join actors Dame Judi Dench and Rory Kinnear to highlight the terrible struggles facing Britain’s home carers. Speaking of the sheer desperation for respite care, Dame Judi Dench said:
“This need is more important than ever. I am wholeheartedly joining with Revitalise to launch an urgent fundraising appeal, #CareForCarers, to raise £1 million directly to help carers and disabled people get the break they desperately need, and so deserve.”
For 57 years, Revitalise has provided respite care breaks to a huge range of people. These are a vital lifeline to so many unpaid home carers and their disabled family members.
To read the entries in full, please go to: https://revitalise.org.uk/blog/ or to show your support for the Revitalise #CareForCarers campaign and help us Raise a Million to subsidise care breaks, please go to: revitalise.org.uk/donate