Column by the leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Toby Savage.

Last week was Carers’ Week and its theme was ‘making caring visible’. In South Gloucestershire there are at least 26,000 carers taking care of family and other loved ones. I want to say a heartfelt thanks to all of you who are carers for your fantastic contribution, in particular during this pandemic. I also want to raise awareness of what you do.

Carers are too often hidden and unacknowledged. Yet you perform a vital role, day in, day out. If you care for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or who has mental health or substance misuse problems, then you’re an unpaid or ‘family carer’. We know there are more carers during lockdown and that existing carers are doing more.

Carers can be any age - there are many young people who make numerous sacrifices to look after loved ones. We have the utmost admiration and respect for you.

Please take time to consider your own wellbeing and tap into local support. There’s the Carers Support Centre ( or the Carersline on 0117 965 2200. There is also and general advice on the Carers UK website. If you have concerns about a young carer, contact the Access and Response Teams on 01454 866000. Parent carers can contact South Glos Parents and Carers for more information.

Cllr Ben Stokes, our Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, has also recorded a video about the excellent work of our wonderful carers here on YouTube if you search for ‘South Glos Council’.

I also want readers to tell the council about your ‘hidden heroes’. Do you know someone who has gone the extra mile during lockdown? Perhaps they deliver meals or pick up prescriptions or provide a friendly ear to someone who is isolated? Please let us know by emailing or, if you don’t have access to the internet, calling our Freephone number 0800 028 8327.