//More stories on caring

More stories on caring

The launch of our Carers Survey prompted two people working in production to get in touch with their experiences. We’re grateful to be able to share their stories here…

Male, working in production

How long have you been caring for someone and can you tell us a bit about this person?

“I’ve been caring for my Aunt for the past ten years. She’ll be 88 this year and has Alzeimers, glaucoma and macular degeneration. She used to be a Engineer for Lloyds Register. She looked after me when I studied my A-Levels, and we bonded during that time.”

How many hours each week do you provide care for your Aunt?

“It’s 24/7, everything goes through me. Appointments, decisions… I buy the food and make sure she has all she needs. We now have carers who come three times a day, but the pressure is constant.”

Do you mind sharing how you managed to balance your care for them with your work?

“I had to quit my full time job directing animatics for commercials and instead took on freelance work, I hardly got anything in directing, so had to find flexible work. I became a supporting artist (extra), that can be good money, but requires extreme flexibility and for just over a year now, been doing something outside the industry – I’m a handy man and assemble flat pack furniture for people through the Task Rabbit platform. As it’s all zero hours type work, I need to always keep an eye on my accounts and money going in and out, but the time I’ve had with my aunt has been rewarding. It’s not easy, but I can take time off whenever it’s required.”

What has been the impact of caring on your capacity to work?

“I have had a lot less time to develop my own projects, although this year I have taken steps to get a new short film started, my previous one was in 2015. The main problem has been my resume, there’s a big gap, my last full time employment ended in Oct 2014. Now things are a bit more stable at home, my wife has offered to step in more so I can find potential permanent work, but the few places I applied to, clearly rejected me due to the big hole in my resume.”

Female, working in production

What has been the impact of caring on your capacity to work?

“Caring responsibilities really limit the hours I can work and it is difficult for my partner to look after both children for any length of time due to poor health. We had a Raising Films grant for my Son’s nursery (two mornings per week) which was absolutely brilliant but unfortunately ended in December – his ‘free’ childcare starts after Easter and costs £1k a year. My parents look after him for one afternoon per week and my partner has my daughter for a few hours at a time. All work has to be fitted around this. Shoots are easier in some ways as you know you have a specific thing to do but finding time to do development, look for work or find new clients is much more difficult. Just getting some time to think creatively (or sometimes clearly with sleep deprivation) is very difficult. I’m the main earner as my partner can’t work so there is a pressure to earn which often trumps choices you would make to further your career.

“I think we need a real culture change. Shorter working hours. Better planning to eradicate the last minute culture of planning shoots. I can’t just get on a plane tomorrow anymore. We need on-set or ad hoc childcare and more grants for regular nursery care. Help with training specifically for carers coming back after a career break – either to refresh existing skills or to retrain. Provision for breast feeding or pumping on set. Mental health support where appropriate. More programmes specifically for parents/carers.

“Before you have children or other caring responsibilities you have no idea of the impact on all aspects of your work and personal life. I have employed women with children before and didn’t fully appreciate how difficult it is to simply snap back into business as usual. People who are parents or carers often have such valuable insights that enhance rather than hamper their creative skills.”

GO TO THE CARERS SURVEY PAGE TO ACCESS THE SURVEY
2019-03-14T17:25:22+01:00March, 2019|Our Work|