Pumpkin carving sheds light on caring shortage
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Carers and people they care for have come together to carve out a piece of autumn fun.
The pumpkin carving session was part of a competition being run by North Walsham-based care service Support Me At Home.
Jordan Mee, care co-ordinator at the service, said: "A lot of our service users are older and don't get out and about that much so this has been a real treat for them. This is a way that we can show some community spirit."
The contest is open to all - anyone who wants to drop in a carved pumpkin to the service's St Nicholas Court office has the chance of winning either a meal for four or a cinema voucher.
But Miss Mee said the contest was also being run to shine a light on a deeper problem - a shortage of carers.
She said Support Me At Home had 35 carers on its books and could easily take on another five tomorrow - and they were not the only group that lacked staff.
Miss Mee said: "We're trying to think outside the box and find new ways of getting people through the door.
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"There are currently over 600 people on the 'unmet needs list' needing care, just in Norfolk. That shows what a big shortfall and demand for carers there is."
Miss Mee said there were a number of factors behind the carer shortage - including the ageing population.
Government figures show the UK's older population is projected to grow. By 2043, people aged 65 and over are expected to make up 24pc of the population -equating to 17.4 million people.
Around 19pc of the population - 12.3 million people - was aged 65 or over in 2019.
Miss Mee said: "People are growing older - there's such a demand for our services and without recruiting more staff we just cannot keep up.
"What we do is not just about care - we also do home help, a bit of shopping and cleaning, taking people to appointments and companionship."
Miss Mee said they had both full and part time positions available and training was provided. Anyone interested can call 01692 531341 or email email@example.com.