A challenge with a twist: fundraising for carers

FUNDRAISING: The Carers SA Northern Country team take on the nation's first 3-legged challenge.
FUNDRAISING: The Carers SA Northern Country team take on the nation's first 3-legged challenge.

With their arms linked in solidarity Carers SA workers did their bit to celebrate the unsung heroes of our community.

Taking on the nation's first ever 3-legged challenge, the group put their own twist on the event by tying themselves at the wrist as they flipped snags on the barbecue.

One in six South Australians are looking after loved ones who have a disability, a serious physical or mental illness or are becoming frail as they get older.

Carers provide emotional, social and financial support often without getting paid for it.

It can take a huge toll on the carer's own health, family life and plans for the future. 

The 3-legged challenge is a new campaign to raise funds to give unpaid carers a much-needed break.

Although some funding is available to provide carer retreats, Carers SA Northern Country Team Leader Cephus Stanley said it's nowhere near enough.

"Carers get tired and worn out and they need to recharge their batteries," he said.

"We do get funding to send them on retreats and things like that, but this is a little bit different for something individual. Money is getting tight these days so we have to resort to doing things like this."

While Carers can come from all walks of life, statistics show there are at least two young carers in every South Australian classroom. 

In total there are here are 34,000 young carers in South Australia alone.

"A lot of people forget about the younger carers," Mr Stanley said.

"A lot of time the young carers don't even know they're in a caring role, looking after their grandmother, aunty, mother or uncle. So they don't know they are doing that but we recognise it and we try to support them.

Although many young carers report that caring is a positive experience, research shows it can affect their own mental health and wellbeing.

"It's very tough for young people to take on that role. They are going to school and sleeping in classrooms. It wears them out really badly sometimes," Mr Stanley said.

The 3-legged challenge is a way for every day Australian's to get a glimpse into the commitment carers have to their loved ones.

Every $250 raised gives an individual carer a break to recharge their batteries, but Mr Stanley said it's not all about the money. 

"It doesn't matter what we make today, it's about putting it out there and letting people know what we are trying to do," he said.

"A lot of people have come through and have been willing to have a bit of a yarn about it, so that's been really positive."

The challenge is open to all and runs until March 24.