Carers Week 2024 – Putting Carers on the Map

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

Caring Spaces is our area of work delivering experiences for unpaid carers. We work with fantastic partners Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) and Voice of Carers Across Lothian (VOCAL) to run workshops in Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Dalkeith as well as online.  These workshops give people a break from the caring role and a chance to connect meaningfully with others. 

Our carers in East Lothian have been working on a collaborative artwork in response to the theme of Carers Week 2024 –  ‘Putting Carers on the Map’. Last week we popped down to Haddington install the work with Gemma from CoEL in the foyer of East Lothian Community Hospital. It was important for our carers to show their work here as it is somewhere a lot of unpaid carers frequent and where CoEL is based. 

It is such a welcoming community space with fabulous volunteer greeters and accents of colour, nature and playfulness from the artwork commissioned and designed throughout by NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts team. The building has a lovely link with the project as one of the featured commissions is from our very own Caring Spaces artist Juliana Capes.

Our group’s artwork acknowledges that incredibly, there are an estimated 20,000 unpaid carers living in East Lothian who are supporting a family member or friend who, due to illness disability, mental health condition or addiction cannot cope without their support.

It portrays an interlinked chain of carer support travelling through the whole of the county, symbolising the caring that is happening all around us and that carers are joining together through their shared experience. The central hand is reaching out for help and support in a time of need and is a symbol of someone identifying themselves as a carer. The caring role is incredibly challenging, with many carers hidden from view, but this is a hopeful artwork – highlighting that there is help and support is available.

There are Carer’s Centres in regions throughout Scotland and if you are an unpaid Carer in Edinburgh, Midlothian or East Lothian contact these fantastic organisations to make sure you are getting the support you deserve. 



Thanks to Shared Care’s Creative Breaks fund for enabling us to continue this work. 

10 June 2024 by

Iona McCann