A YOUNG carer used her creativity to boost a charity's coffers as part of a nationwide campaign.

To mark National Carer Week, Caelyn Jackson,10 raised money for Swindon Carers Centre by selling handmade headbands to the public during the charity’s annual Walk a Mile in a Carer’s Shoes’ event at the Pilgrim Centre.

She said: “I wanted to make head bands because at Christmas time I got a big sewing machine with lots of materials and my dad said, ‘why not do something for a charity’. That’s how I started. Then I picked Swindon Carers because I am a young carer myself and I wanted to help them.

“I help mummy do the dishes, I look after my sister. It was important for me to be a carer and help my family and I really like that.”

Her mum Annalisa, 39 added: “She is very good. I have a syndrome, so I get a lot of pain and she is very good at going and grabbing things for me. Her sister is autistic as well. And she is also helping her on a daily basis. She is a very good girl.”

The walk on Saturday was an opportunity for anyone to step into the shoes of the thousands of unpaid carers in Swindon dedicated to helping a friend or a relative.

This year’s campaign aimed to connect carers and help them get the support they needed to care without putting off their own health needs or losing important relationships with others.

Chief executive of Swindon Carers Centre Susanna Jones said: “Carers in Swindon save our economy 395 million pounds a year. They are an unpaid workforce, supporting our health and social care systems and they deserve to have support, information, advice and advocacy for them. And that is part of our role, not only raising awareness of their needs, but also ensuring that they are connected to their community. That’s the key thing with carers, whether that’s connected to employment, education, information, or to each other.

“They often find it challenging to take care of their own wellbeing whilst caring. Its impact on all aspects of life from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough."

She added: “One in eight of us will be a carer at some point in our lives and it’s up to all of us as it’s all about responsibilities to support the work that unpaid carers are doing.”

Carer Mary Cullum 85, said: “I support my husband because he is physically disabled. I do everything except washing, dressing, he can feed himself and that’s it.

“I’m here today to support everybody else that isn’t that lucky. There’s people here who don’t have support and they've got no family: I’ve got a good family so I’m lucky. Carers are very important, but some people have none. I’m an ex-district nurse and I’ve seen care in the community and it’s not good.

"When [paid] carers go into a home, they get the person out of bed, feed and wash them and that’s it for the day. I don’t call that care. They need more than a few hours.”