What Matters Most to unpaid carers – we want to hear your stories about caring during Covid-19

Many people became unpaid carers overnight when lockdown was imposed, increasing their responsibilities to look after older, disabled or seriously ill loved ones and relatives instantly.

With day care centres and respite suspended, it left carers in a particularly challenging position. We want to hear what it has been like for you, and how things need to change going forward, which is why we are launching our survey today.

We undertook a general Covid-19 survey back in July, to ask people how they found accessing health and care services during the pandemic, and at that time, carers told us they felt “left to get on with things”, so we want to find out more about the problems and what can be done.


Nationally, it is thought that 4.5 million additional people have taken on caring for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Many of these people are also juggling work and family life alongside unpaid care work and finding it very difficult.

The figures were revealed at the end of June as part of Carers Week and the six charities supporting Carers Week – Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness – are calling on the UK Government to recognise and raise awareness of the role unpaid carers are playing during the pandemic and ensure they are supported through it, and beyond.

A carer is anyone who cares unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. According to the 2011 Census there are over 17,500 carers in Portsmouth, and according to Carers UK, a 30% turnover – which means 5,500 Portsmouth residents take on caring responsibilities every year.

We want to understand the picture in Portsmouth by asking all unpaid carers to take part in our survey and share their experiences with us. Our aim is to:

  • identify the issues affecting unpaid carers since the pandemic began
  • identify what needs to be done differently to support carers going forward

Help us identify what matters most to unpaid carers by completing our short survey here.

We have also brought together some useful resources to help local carers who don’t know where to turn for help and advice, which you can find here.

There are a number of ways people can share their views with us:

To find out what support is available to you as an unpaid carer you can contact a member of the team at the Portsmouth Carers Centre in Portsmouth which is taking calls and responding to emails during the pandemic.

  • Telephone – 023 9285 1864
  • Email
  • Visit for news and events

If you would like to learn how Portsmouth City Council is trying to raise the public’s awareness of what unpaid carers do and how they can offer support to that person you can access this free e-learning course on carer awareness by clicking here.