Family carers of people with learning disabilities seek recognition during Carers’ Week 2024 

10 June 2023

To mark national Carers Week from 10-16 June, the vital contribution that unpaid carers and family members make to care for loved ones with a learning disability is being highlighted by a south coast charity.

Minstead Trust supports over 300 people with learning disabilities, and runs a specialist service for family carers in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

These carers are part of millions throughout England and Wales, who contribute a staggering £445 million to the economy every day – a total £162 billion per year (Petrillo and Bennett, 2023).

Sini Lucas, Carers Representation Co-ordinator for Minstead Trust, said ‘Carers Week is a brilliant opportunity for unpaid carers to be recognised for the huge contribution they make in our communities. I want to take this opportunity to send a public thank you to all our Carers Forum members, contributing to work we do together.

‘A huge amount of work, time, and commitment by carers goes into providing care and support to their loved ones. But these carers are also keeping informed of changes and ensuring that the experience of family carers is fed back to those who can influence learning disability and carers support services, now and in the future.

‘And so, for Carers Week, I would like to say thank you to all our fabulous carers and a huge thank you for all that you do!

‘We hope you find interesting and enjoyable activities during the Carers Week – there is a lot on offer in BCP!’

Minstead Trust’s services include supporting and representing carers at adult social services and health meetings, running a Carers Forum for carers to share views and concerns, and regular drop-in conversations with trained staff. The work of the Carers Forum is focused on signposting participants to relevant services, collective advocacy and working with the local council to identify key issues and solutions.

Helen, with her daughter who she cares for

Helen Head, who cares for her daughter with microcephaly, said: ‘Although the family carers I meet through the Carers Forum are all in different situations, with different needs, we’ve all had a lifetime of caring, so our focus is on finding solutions and ways to work together with the professionals. Sini invites guest speakers to our sessions, for example from the Council, and is great at keeping everyone emotionally level; she really gets it.

‘Having an advocate who knows how things work is invaluable – without her support I’d really feel a lot more lost and alone!’

This week across Dorset and BCP, local support organisations are ‘putting carers on the map’, finding hidden carers and raising awareness of the support available locally. Caring for friends and family often comes with additional worries and costs, impacting finances and wellbeing. Minstead Trust is providing support and signposting to those who need it the most.

Carers can also get involved with many activities across BCP and beyond, with Minstead Trust’s social enterprise Furzey Gardens in Minstead offering carers free entry and a hot drink, and half price piece of cake.

To find out what other events are happening across Dorset and BCP:

Find out more about Minstead Trust’s representation for family carers in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole at You can also get in touch with Sini Lucas at

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