University of Bedfordshire to explore how Covid-19 changed public perception of carers

The Beds Talks series are a programme of community-facing events that are driven by topical issues and current university research

By Alex Ross
Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 1:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 2:08 pm

The University of Bedfordshire's latest Beds Talks event will focus on the role of carers in our community and how the pandemic has changed the public perception of them.

Hosted by the Institute for Health Research and led by Senior Research Fellow, Dr Emma Wilkinson, this free public event will feature academics, practitioners and the public, discussing amongst other things, how Covid-19 may have changed how people think about family or informal carers and their role in society.

This virtual Beds Talks event will take place from 10am till 12pm on Carers’ Rights Day (November 26) via Zoom.

The University of Bedfordshire's latest Beds Talks event will focus on the role of carers in our community

Carers, students, volunteers and members of public are all welcome to sign up and be a part of this fascinating conversation– simply register for the talk through Eventbriteand attendees will be sent a link to join on the day.

Informal carers who look after friends and loved ones will be the focus, and the audience will learn more about local carer support organisations such as Carers in Bedfordshire and the

Disability Resource Centre.

Academic contributions will be presented by Dr Yannis Pappas, Reader in Health Service Delivery & Organisation at the University of Bedfordshire, Dr Jitka Vseteckova from the Open University and Professor Marie-Pierre Moreau of Anglia Ruskin University.

Attendees will also have the chance to share their own experiences of caring for family and friends including during the pandemic.

Dr Emma Wilkinson, who is based at Bedfordshire’s Institute for Health Research (IHR), said: “I’m really looking forward to our Beds Talks event.

"It is great that the University is hosting it on Carers’ Rights Day as it gives us an excellent opportunity to celebrate the work that informal carers do, acknowledge the difficulties they face and think about ways research can help improve carer wellbeing in the future.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic our general awareness of people who give care has gone up for paid care workers such as doctors, nurses and care home staff.

"But it’s been an incredibly challenging time for informal carers too, whose contribution sometimes falls under the radar.

"We want to raise awareness of all those informal or family carers in our community who provide care day-in day-out for loved ones and think of ways research could help to promote their health and wellbeing in the future.

“We are lucky to have two carer support organisations contribute to this event to tell us about the fantastic work going on in Bedfordshire, a lot of this is done in partnership with volunteers and other organisations, including dementia charities and other mental health charities and we would love for them to participate and work with us in the future too.

“All carers and carer support organisations and groups are invited to take part with us in this event which we hope will be the start of a conversation and research partnership that is

inclusive from the beginning.”

Professor Gurch Randhawa, Director of the IHR at the University of Bedfordshire, will be leading a Q&A session as part of the virtual event.

He said: “Our Institute is proud to host a programme of research that focuses upon the role of carers.

“The Beds Cares event is a celebration of the informal carers in the Bedfordshire community and it gives us and the public a chance to discuss research and ideas around the importance of carer wellbeing moving forward.”

Register to join Beds Talks: Beds Cares, via: