A NEW campaign is telling East Lancashire carers that advice, information and practical support to help them cope is just a phone call away.
Experts estimate up to 100,000 hard-pressed people across the county miss out on free support.
The Lancashire County Council and Carers Lancashire campaign is aimed at carers missing out on help unlike the 12,000 they currently support, including many in Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale and Ribble Valley.
Blackburn with Darwen Council has joined the drive, highlighting the services available for carers in the borough.
County council carers boss Joanne McMaster said: “Research shows many who look after a friend, family member or loved one do not think of themselves as carers. You don’t have to live in the same house or be related to count as a carer.
“If you give regular unpaid help to someone with an illness or disability, you can get support that could really change your life.”
Carers can access a wide range of free services including the Peace of Mind scheme, which ensures someone is ready all year round to help people caught in an unforeseen emergency. Carers also have the opportunity to enjoy ‘me time’ at social events.
Through Carers Lanca-shire they can get direct support from trained workers over the phone or face to face.
Blackburn with Darwen’s social care chairman Mohammed Khan said: “Carers make an invaluable contribution and we do everything we can to make sure carers get the support they need.
“Young Carers Services, for carers under the age of 18, are also funded by the Council in partnership with Child Action North West.”
DEBRA Sofia Magdalene wants carers to follow her example and ask for help.The 51-year-old from Burnley said without help from social services and support groups she could not have coped.
Her mum, Joan, has Alzheimer's, is blind and has trouble getting around since a stroke. Her dad, Michael, has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.
Debra said: “My dad had been looking after mum when he was diagnosed two years ago.
“I had sold my business and my house and was going travelling round the world, but I had to abandon those plans.
“I got in touch with Carer Contact in Burnley and the county to get support. Without their help, I just could not have coped. I do all of the housework. I also take my parents out on trips.
“The most important thing is the support to enable me to get a break and the chance to meet other carers.They really are life-savers.
“I never thought I could ever go back to living with my parents. But now, with all the help and support, I see it as a really positive opportunity to get closer to them in their later years.”