This April marks the three-year anniversary of Carer Gateway The Australian Government launched the free national carer support service to support and sustain the vital work of unpaid carers.
To celebrate this milestone, our Carer Gateway team, in partnership with Your Side, is holding a Carer Carnivale Day at Sydney’s Pyrmont Bay Park on Saturday April 1 from 10am-3pm.
“Carer Carnivale Day is about raising awareness of the needs of unpaid carers and to celebrate the amazing job they’re doing,” says Michelle Williams, Deputy Manager of Carer Gateway at The Benevolent Society.
“It’s also an opportunity to educate community members, who aren’t registered yet with Carer Gateway, about the vital resources and services available to them to ensure they can continue in their valuable caring role.”
Entry is FREE and everyone is welcome to attend. There will be live entertainment, family activities, information stalls, art therapy, food trucks and group mindfulness exercises to improve your wellbeing, burn some energy and have some fun.
There’s also plenty for the kids to see and do, including arts and crafts, games and magicians. With pets known to enhance health and wellbeing, there’ll also be a petting zoo.
The Carer Gateway team will also be there to answer any questions you may have about the program.
The Carer Gateway Support Team from The Benevolent Society
How Carer Gateway began
Carer Gateway was first introduced in 2015 as a website and phone line to help carers find and access support to help them in their caring role.
With the Australian Government’s commitment to continue improving carer services, an extensive four-year consultation process found that the best way to support carers is to help them early in their caring role.
This resulted in an updated Carer Gateway service model, which is what we see today. The full Carer Gateway service was introduced in a two-phased approach from July 2019.
Phase one included the introduction of new online and phone-based supports, including free phone counselling, online peer support, self-guided coaching, and practical educational resources.
Full roll-out was implemented in April 2020, to include the delivery of in-person services through organisations across Australia known as Carer Gateway service providers.
There are providers across Australia, including The Benevolent Society which supports Metropolitan Sydney [excluding South Western Sydney and Nepean].
Through a range of tailored supports and services, carers can be supported to manage their daily challenges, reduce stress, plan for the future and ultimately improve their wellbeing.
“Many people don’t realise it but those who assume a caregiving role can experience high levels of stress, increased levels of depression and psychological distress, including impaired self-care and an overall reduction in their quality of life, which may lead to carer burn-out,” Michelle says.
With 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia, Carer Gateway has played a vital role supporting carers to continue their important caring role.
There are many carers who have benefitted from the free support program, including Snow who cares for her husband who has a physical disability resulting from a stroke.
“Life was incredibly difficult for the first few years of my husband suffering a stroke as I just gave birth to a second child,” she says. “The most challenging part of my life is maintaining that spirit and hope that it all goes well, and most importantly physical health, especially for my husband.”
Through Carer Gateway, Snow has been able to access peer support while her daughters, who are registered as young carers, have received support including tutoring for educational support.
“The Carer Gateway has helped my family tremendously,” she says. “First, it offers many fun activities regularly for the girls who really enjoy it. Additionally, it provides services such as tutoring for my younger daughter.
“Since last year, I have attended so many amazing activities such as painting with other carers. Many activities provide me with more opportunities as they are new for me. I also get to know other carers. I am very grateful for the fun times that Carer Gateway has provided me.”
If you look after a loved one, Carer Gateway is a free support service, especially for you. To find out more, call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or click here.
For free tickets to Carer Gateway Carnivale Day, go to Eventbrite to register your details.