Launching 'The Carer in Us'

Created by filmmakers Dan Prince and Sam Laverick in partnership with NICA, these films document the stories of five local people who care for others in the workplace, the local community and at home. The aim of these films is to show the nuances of what it means to care. There are so many opportunities to innovate within the care industry, and we're asking people to join us to change the way people think about care.


Female firefigther walking in front of closed fire station doors

The films demonstrate that there is a ‘carer’ in all of us and as COVID-19 hit our communities, it has become even more prevalent, both in the workplace and in everyday life. Previous research estimates that nearly 8 million people in the UK provide care for family members without pay, and recent estimates show that an extra 4.5 million people have been added to this figure during the pandemic, with people caring for sick, older and disabled family members.

Each video gives a caregiver the chance to tell their story and share their experiences. They cover formal carers, informal carers, those who have recently or unexpectedly become carers, those who don’t consider themselves carers, and those who have even set up care-centric organisations as a result of their experiences. There are five local stories of caregiving in total, including Abu Shama from the Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre who talks about the diverse range of communities he works with and the profound effect of the pandemic has had on day-to-day activities and support. ‘Caring’ for the community now involves food parcels, door-to-door visits, and helping older adults to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Rosemary Tarbit, who works for the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, also features in one of the films, talking about how the pandemic has shaped a new way for the service to ‘care’ for the community. Rosemary is also a carer for her mother-in-law, 95, and must balance the care needs of others in both her personal and professional life.

Victoria Burnip, who was inspired to start her own businesses when she was caring for her Gran with dementia, talks about her journey. She now has her own successful business, Unforgettable Experiences, an organisation that provides creative, interactive, and practical support to help older people with dementia and other neurological conditions with access to arts and culture. Victoria also supports her husband, Richard, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2013. Other subjects include Norma Jewitt, a carer from Hebburn, who cares within her local community and Lee Sadler who grew up caring for a disabled family member and now is a formal carer.

Dan Prince, local filmmaker:

In the midst of the pandemic we wanted to work with the local community to produce a series of films that were authentic, meaningful and moving. ‘The Carer in Us’ is the second series of films we have created to demonstrate the impact of the pandemic on work, life and care. We were delighted to link up with NICA, who have strong links with the care community and who facilitate innovation within the care sector.

There is something to be said about having an idea, reaching out to collaborate and making a series to be proud of, while raising awareness of an important subject. Working alongside the team at NICA has opened the door to help us amplify the voices of people who care, out of choice or necessity. The common ground within every story is that caring is in their nature: however difficult the scenario they will put caring for others before themselves.

AgeUK has found that 1 in 7 people over 65 are struggling without the help they need to carry out essential daily tasks. There are currently 1.5 million older people who have an unmet care need and it is estimated that by 2030 this will rise to 2.1 million people who are not getting the support they need.

Our Director, Nic Palmarini:

We are all carers in some way. Whether you have embarked upon a career in the care sector or care for loved ones, there is a caregiver in all of us. Whether you are paid or unpaid, your skills can benefit employers, innovators, and other caregivers. We must harness the skills of the caregiving community to drive change. Carers UK estimates that we will see a 40% rise in the number of carers needed by 2037 – an extra 2.6 million carers, meaning the carer population in the UK will reach 9 million. This is why it is so important to drive new ideas that will support those with a care need to live well for longer.

Our mission at NICA is to harness the intelligence of people through engagement, and collaborative projects like this are a way to share skills, learn and gather meaningful insight to develop new products, jobs, and opportunities within the care sector and beyond. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who shared their stories and helped us to deliver an authentic depiction of our caregiving community.

Charlie Wilkinson, FMS Engagement Support Coordinator, Newcastle University:

Nothing is quite as powerful as storytelling. We can’t empathise with facts and statistics, but we can with stories. The creative arts is the most important tool to help people understand the importance of research and innovation, to help people understand why we do what we do. People don’t get involved in a cause because of numbers on a spreadsheet, they do it because storytelling helps them see the difference they can make.

‘The Carer in Us’ is the first in a series of films that we will be commissioning around topics that can improve longevity, such as ‘The Skills in Us’ and ‘The Innovator in Us’.

If you have an idea that could help bring new ideas, services and products to the care industry then we want to hear from you. Email to help change the way people think about care.

You can watch ‘The Carer in Us’ here.