A CHARITY has helped 18,000 unpaid family carers through the Covid-19 pandemic in Southend so far.

Trust Links is a mental health and wellbeing charity that works with Southend Carers and Southend Council to provide counselling and support groups for unpaid carers over the telephone and on Zoom.

It has also used funding from the Southend Emergency Fund, to give one carer a tablet and internet access to help them to stay in touch with friends and family during lockdown.

It also looks after family members with dementia, mental illness, physical disabilities and learning disabilities.

Trevor Harp, councillor responsible for health and social care, said: “While they may feel they are only doing what anyone would do for a loved one who needs help, carers are by default helping reduce the demand on the NHS and social care.

"Especially during the pandemic, when those with long term and chronic illnesses have had to shield.

"Not only are the carers inspiring, but there has been incredible work happening behind the scenes by the charities and organisations to continue to provide a support system for those in care situations.

"There have been innovative solutions and creative ways of making sure carer’s do not feel isolated, lonely or cut off in any way from their usual support systems, including their friends and family during lockdown.”

Visit southendcarers.co.uk.