“I’ve always thought there are other people worse off than us, so I’ve never really asked for help. But the support from Carers Trust South East Wales (CTSEW) has made a big difference to us. Daily life is better now.”

Claire* is a parent carer for her eight-year-old son Robert. Robert has a speech disorder, behavioural problems, incontinence and has high care needs.

Caring for Robert meant Claire had to give up her job as a community nurse, something Claire admits has been tough, but that she’s done for the good of her family. Her eldest daughter was helping with caring for Robert but recently left home to go to University.

Along with Robert, Claire has four other children, including a young baby, so the last thing she needed was her washing machine to break down early into lockdown.

Claire explains: “I’d only recently got a refurbished washing machine but three months after we brought it, it packed in. With Robert, his brothers and sisters and a young baby, I’m washing a lot of clothes and bed sheets every day and it was a disaster when it broke down as we didn’t have enough money to buy another machine.

“My other children get support from the CTSEW Young Carers team and they’ve been brilliant through lockdown. Rachel from Young Carers has been calling regularly, to talk to the kids and check we are all ok and she suggested we could apply for a grant to get a new washing machine.

“I’d not really considered applying for a grant from CTSEW as I’ve always felt there were other people worse off than us. But Rachel encouraged us to do that and we were so happy to be successful with our application.

“The machine arrived by the Wednesday and it’s made such a huge difference to our lives – that sounds a bit over the top but it’s true! Washing is easy, I know it’s going to run ok and I don’t even need to worry about mopping up the kitchen floor after it’s leaked anymore! CTSEW are amazing and I’m so grateful for the grant.”

Claire was just one of over 500 carers who applied for an emergency grant from CTSEW during the pandemic. We’ve awarded well over £59,000 to unpaid carers in emergency grants with the majority for essential items including food, travel and home goods.

*Names have been changed