Landmarks across Sunderland are being lit green and blue for carers this week as the city celebrates National Carers Week.
The annual week is designed to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges faced by unpaid carers and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities across 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.
The city is lighting landmarks including Northern Spire, Fulwell Mill, Seaburn Lighthouse, Keel Square and the National Trust owned Penshaw Monument in blue and green, the colours of Sunderland Carers Centre to mark the selfless dedication of carers and celebrate the difference they make to the lives of those they care for.
Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Councillor Dr Geoff Walker, said: "There are thousands of people of all ages across Sunderland caring for others. That includes parents, grandparents, children, partners and friends. Very often they might not even recognise themselves as carers but they all play an incredibly important role.
"National Carers Week is about celebrating and raising awareness of the selfless contribution they make to the lives of those they care for and the support network in place to help them.
"This includes people looking after family members, friends and neighbours who couldn't manage alone because of their frailty, illness or disability. In my role, I get to speak carers of all ages and see the tremendous contribution they make to our communities. It's only right that this is something we should celebrate and value."
Sunderland Carers Centre, working in partnership with the Council and local health service provide a confidential information, advice and support service to carers.
Cllr Walker added: "Sunderland Carers Centre does a fantastic job providing all sorts of support for carers old and young. This has been all the more important during the Covid crisis when many carer groups and activities have had to stop but the centre has stayed open and kept in touch with carers throughout."
Amanda Brown, Chief Executive of Sunderland Carers Centre, said: "This week Sunderland Carers Centre will be joining with Sunderland City Council, Sunderland CCG, national partners, Carers Trust and Carers UK in celebrating the work Carers do throughout the country. Sharing key national messages of promoting Carer awareness, working to make Carers more visible and fighting for the rights of Carers we will be united with our network partners up and down the country in encouraging the recognition and support for Carers.
"In Sunderland we will continue to support Carers through Covid-19, a time when Carers are feeling more isolated than ever, Sunderland Carers Centre will be reaching out to the families most hard hit throughout this crisis to personally deliver gifts of hope. These gifts will contain both useful resources and also presents for carers to remind them that ‘if they care, we care’. We will be circulating, via our social media, images and videos of both Carers and our staff to increase the visibility of Carers and the people who support them throughout the city.
"Our young carers team will be also be working with the young carers of Sunderland and will be hosting various Virtual group meetings to discuss how young people are coping through Covid-19 and what can be done as a city to support them.
"Through social media and our website we will also be providing daily updates celebrating Carers, as well as providing information, advice and guidance for families and professionals."