We are delighted to announce that Sheffield Mencap and Gateway has been awarded £264,974 by the National Lottery Community Fund to deliver a new service providing vital support to carers of people with learning disabilities or autism in communities across Sheffield.

We secured the funding in response to critical needs identified in Sheffield City Council’s 2022 report into the disproportionate impacts of Covid-19 on carers. Consultations with the carers already accessing our support were also a key component in the development of this service.

Our new Carers Support Service will bring together carers in communities across Sheffield, forming social support groups. With over a quarter of carers (29%) reporting feeling lonely ‘often or always’ (Carers UK, State of Caring 2022) these groups will be a key part of reducing isolation and improving wellbeing.

The service is rooted in the NHS endorsed ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ concept, with groups providing opportunities to connect through shared experiences, give back to others through peer support, and learn new skills. Carers of people with a learning disability or autism and their loved ones in Sheffield will be able to access the service from July 2023, with a predicted 450 people being supported over the 3-year funding period.

Kelly Daubney, Senior Manager of Carers Projects at Sheffield Mencap and Gateway, explains:

Caring for a loved one with a learning disability or autism is a life-long commitment and can be incredibly challenging. Recent consultations have sadly revealed the extent of the isolation, exhaustion and burnout suffered by carers after the additional pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. This new service will support carers to take some valuable time for themselves, in a safe environment alongside people who have walked in their shoes.

We are overjoyed to have been successful in this bid and want to extend our thanks to everyone who plays the National Lottery, because without you, we couldn’t deliver this valuable work. This funding will allow Sheffield Mencap and Gateway to engage some of the most isolated, hidden carers in the city and effect positive change in communities across Sheffield.

Further details about this new service will be added to our carers support page soon!