Art helps make unpaid carers more visible

 

Blackpool Carers Centre provides support to unpaid carers along with their families within the Blackpool area. It provides an extensive range of age-specific services and support in order to fulfil its purpose, which is to make ‘A Better Life for Carers’. An unpaid carer is someone who provides support or care for a family member who may be affected by disability, mental ill  health or substance misuse. In Blackpool alone there are more than 16,000 people who provide unpaid care to another person! Our support takes the form of information, signposting and advice, training courses and much needed respite opportunities.

Blackpool Carers Centre’s project Carers HeArt is part of its respite offer for young and adult carers, and has seen participants engage in online art sessions during lockdown to create pieces of art using images, colours, patterns or words to express what it means to be a carer and their experiences of being a carer. These pieces of art have been pieced together to help make unpaid carers more ‘visible’ and provide valuable insight into what it is like to be an unpaid carer and to be cared for.

 

Please click on each artwork to view an enlarged image.

 

I drew a window with elegant curtains to symbolise that carers are often confined to the house.  Whilst things might look lovely on the outside, being a carer can feel tough, and there are lots of “unseen carers” out there.  I wrote the word lonely inside the window to symbolise the isolation that caring can bring about.
The shadows of self-image represents dementia carers and the relationship they have with a partner with dementia.  The carer can feel that they recognise the physical form of their loved one, but that in a way they are also just a shadow of their former self.  The carer can feel that they too are now a shadow of their former self, with questions and concerns about the future. 
The stairs represent a philosophy of managing as a carer – to take one step at a time. 
Many carers support a loved one, and care out of compassion and love for their family member of friend.  The word patient symbolises the quality that many carers exhibit.

 

The reason I wrote that poem was because I was looking back through my memories during lockdown- the ones that make me smile- I was thinking about all those who I love including family and friends even though I couldn’t see them I hoped that they knew I was thinking about them and that we will all be back together once lockdown restrictions ease.

 

I created this image using items from around my flat. Each item has a link to my role as a carer, for example; the shopping bag as I help out with the shopping. It also has items that link to who I am as individual such as; colouring pencils as I draw to help me relax.

 

Young carers art