Many of us may not realise, but at some point in our lives, whether through marriage, partnership, having children or being responsible for loved ones in need, we are all carers.
National Carers week was celebrated this year between 15–21 October. The week itself provides an opportunity to recognise and appreciate the 2.65 million unpaid caregivers across Australia that provide care to someone with a disability, a family member, a neighbour or loved one.
This annual event celebrates the invaluable contribution and dedication of unpaid carers and the vital support they provide. The week also aims to encourage communities, policymakers, and organisations to provide better support systems for carers and to create an inclusive environment for open discussion.
This year, Yarraville Community Centre held a Carer Expo on Monday 23 October. The free event was an invitation to all unpaid carers to come along for an informal information session with service providers and support groups. Carers enjoyed a morning to connect with others facing similar experiences, share their stories over lunch, and access resources and services available to them.
Organising an event such as this offers a platform to raise awareness about the physical, emotional, and financial strain that carers often endure, and emphasises the need for greater support and recognition. The guest speakers and service providers on the day included Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, Elder Rights Advocacy, Carer Gateway, Different Journeys, Each Community, Carers Victoria along with free creative workshops.
Yarraville Community Centre also participates in the statewide program, Walks for Carers, a monthly walking group which is led by carers, for carers.
Meeting every third Thursday of the month at Yarraville Community Centre, carers enjoy a local neighbourhood stroll, a complimentary coffee along the way, followed by morning tea at YCC. The simple act of engaging in regular activities such as these monthly walks, helps reduce feelings of isolation, facilitates the sharing of information and develops self-care practices.
These casual monthly walks have been a wonderful outlet for all involved where new friendships have been forged and will continue in 2024. Look out for further information and 2024 dates for Walks for Carers at YCC.