Carers' and Parents Week

Carers' and Parents Week aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of carers' at Cardiff University and to spread the word of what it means to be a carer or parent as a student. 

Carers' and Parents Week also seeks to increase awareness about the support that is available for any students who are in a caring role.  

What defines a carer?

A carer is an individual who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. It can take on average, two years for an unpaid carer to acknowledge their role as a carer. It can be difficult for carers to see their caring role as separate from the relationship they have with the person for whom they care, whether that relationship is as a parent, child, sibling, partner, or a friend. There is a 50:50 chance that we will have caring responsibilities at some point in our lives with the challenges faced by carers taking many forms. Many carers juggle their caring responsibilities with work, study and other family commitments. (Definition from NHS Commissioning)

During lockdown we clapped for carers,  this has blurred the lines regarding the definition; an Unpaid Carer is normally referred to as a carer and a paid carer is known as a care worker. However, people will refer to others or themselves when they are working in care as carers. So, you can see this blur of the line, often as an unpaid carer , when I've told people I'm a carer they often assume I'm paid.


Cardiff University recognise carers as those 'who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction' (definition from Carers Trust).

A caring role can vary significantly but can include:

  • practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping
  • physical care, such as helping someone out of bed
  • personal care, such as helping someone dress
  • managing the family budget
  • managing prescriptions and medication
  • helping someone communicate
  • looking after brothers and sisters
  • providing emotional support.

Each year Cardiff University has around 200 student carers studying at the university and about 140 are young carers. The University classes young carers as those who are under 25 at the start of their course. 

Read the Student Carer Guide

What defines a parent?

A student parent will have the responsibility for a dependent child. Cardiff University Students' Union's Carers' and Parents Association aims to raise awareness of the importance of disclosing parental responsibilities on the University enrolment form. The Association also aims to collate information about schools, colleges, family friendly doctors and advice for International students and families. 

Read the Student Parent Guide

Carers & Parents Association


Join the Carers and Parents Association

Carers' Facts and Figures

  • Carers Week 2020 research found: 1 in 6 of the adult population were unpaid carers before the pandemic. Due to the increase in the number of people caring as a result of the pandemic, it is estimated that it could now be as high as 1 in 4 adults (26%).

  • Analysis of the 2011 census shows 1.4 million people provide 50 hours or more unpaid care in England and Wales.

  • 96% of annual care is provided in Wales by unpaid carers? In November 2020, research by Carers Rights Day research for Carers Wales found unpaid carers had saved Wales (the Welsh NHS and other services) £33m every single day of the pandemic by providing care.

  • 86% of carers describe themselves as feeling 'lonely' and 'socially-isolated'. The Carers UK Caring Behind Closed Doors report released in October 2020 found that 80% of carers in Wales are providing more care as a result of the pandemic, 66% of carers in Wales say their mental health has worsened as a result of caring during the pandemic and 76% of carers in Wales reported feeling exhausted and worn out as a result of caring during the pandemic.

  • Before the pandemic, there were around 223,000 unpaid carers juggling work and employment in Wales, around 1 in 7 of the workforce. Due to the increase because of COVID, 1 in 4 workers UK wide are now juggling employment and unpaid caring (2020 Carers Week research).

  • Carers Rights Day 2020 polling found that 91% of adults in Wales think unpaid carers have been important during the COVID-19 pandemic, in supporting family or friends with disability or illness.

  • You have a 50:50 chance of becoming, or having been, an unpaid carer by age 45 in Wales.

  • 6% of new carers (people who have started caring as a result of COVID) are also students – 270,000 in total.

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