Man looking at Carer-Connect website

Vital life line for unpaid Carers this Christmas.

A new online forum, Carer-Connect, will provide a much-needed lifeline for unpaid Carers this Christmas says the charity behind the initiative.

Available 24/7, it’s predominantly a website based social space with professional services and support built in explains Debi Marsden from Carer Support South Lakes.

Adding that it’s a safe and moderated online forum for Carers of all ages, with young, adult and parent carer groups as well as one for those caring for loved ones with dementia.

Debi believes Carer-Connect is the first of its kind and that it could benefit an estimated 56,000 unpaid Carers in Cumbria including a group of male Carers in the South Lakes area.

Stuart has looked after his late wife and his mother-in-law and he now cares for his partner. Stuart’s been keeping the 20-strong male group in touch with each other since they stopped meeting in person at the start of the first pandemic lockdown in March. Stuart says Christmas is particularly tough this year for the group and many are exhausted. He explains that some are dealing with the loss of loved ones, others are adjusting to those they care for being moved into a care home, as well as continuing to shield and not being able to meet up with relatives.

Stuart says Carer-Connect could benefit male Carers, who are often reluctant to ask for help and talk to others about their needs.

Carers-Connect has been made possible by a grant from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by the National Lottery. The fund supports those most affected by the virus.

Carer Support South Lakes chief operating officer, Debi Marsden, explains why the timing of this project is so vital:

“COVID-19 has really highlighted the issue of acute social isolation and the importance of support and conversations for Carers, which is why Carer-Connect is needed right now.

“It’s place where people can seek individual support from carers with experience and the charity’s support workers. There are also wellbeing activities, such as yoga and mindfulness sessions, and Carers can contribute to campaigns that help inform statutory services.

People can find out more and connect with other Carers across Cumbria by calling 01539 815970, emailing or visiting