Carers Week 2021

Being a carer can be tough, add in the pressures of covid and OU study and things can get really tricky. Carers Week 2021 looks to celebrate, connect and share.


Carer – [noun] Cares (unpaid) for family or friends who have a disability, illness or who need support in later life.

This year carers across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support

Early in 2018 OU student John Stead created a Facebook group for unpaid carers, as he had been caring for his mother while studying. The group offered a safe area for other students to talk, chat and receive support from one another. Since the group was created the numbers grew and it is now affiliated with the Open University Students Association. The club recognises that writing a Tutor Marked Assignment, reading coursework, writing an End of Module Assignment or attending an exam can be difficult at the best of times, but when you are caring for someone at home it can be overwhelming, moreso now in the middle of a pandemic. 

Current and former students with caring responsibilities can access this welcoming community, the OU Carers Club, on Facebook, and for students with no access to Facebook there’s a vibrant Forum where friendly students share their experiences, advice and resources.

Part of this network is contact with the staff at the University and working with them to help support students in Carers Week 2021. Carers Week (7 to 13 June) is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don't think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support. The theme this year is Make Caring Visible and Valued.

To celebrate Carers Week 2021, the Care and Caring Network@OU will be running the following activities for students and staff. Please join us whether you’re a carer yourself or just interested in supporting your peers who are.

Monday 7th June 

1.30pm-2.10pm

Staff and students Carers Choir: hear about benefits of  Carers choirs and try out a little online experience of singing totally off mic!). Resource sheet available. Click here to join

Tuesday 8th June

12noon- 2.00pm 

Caring for our carers: community-orientated session for both students and staff: whether you are an OU student or a member of staff, we care about the caring work you are doing. This online event will fill you in on the support that is available from the OU and you will hear from people who have balanced caring responsibilities with their OU work. We are offering mindfulness and meditation experiences that you can enjoy during the event and can take away. Click here to join

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Peter Turner

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