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Caring and cake

Updated: May 23, 2023

By Sam Ivin

I have chosen to work with unpaid carers, people who look after a family member or loved one(s). Since the pandemic began in March 2020 I have worked as a carer a few days a week, but I know little about the experience of those who care for their family. I want to learn more about unpaid carers’ stories, and how the pandemic, and their caring responsibilities in general, affect their lives.


So far I have run two creative photography workshops with the Carers Trust in Chester, where I shared some of my previous work, we played with Polaroid cameras, learnt basic composition techniques and ate cake!


The participants have all been so friendly and open to talking about their experiences in care. Being a carer is a very personal thing that is unique to each person, and varies greatly, depending on the person's needs and abilities. What has stood out to me is the loss of freedom that people often appear to feel, particularly during the pandemic when day centres and other services were closed.


When I work as a paid carer, I have good days and not so good days, but when I get home I can switch off from my day and be in my own space. As a paid carer you don't always have that option. You care for the person and that is what your life revolves around. Where you go, when you see friends, who you are, is all second to looking after the family member in need. Of course people can find it rewarding but often it is hard work, with little relief. The pandemic meant not going out, which means little time away from caring responsibilities for unpaid carers.


I still have a lot to learn on the subject as I have only just started, but so far I am very grateful to have met all the people I have, and I am really looking forward to making some portraits with participants!

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