Carers UK

The charity's web forum has more than 3,000 active members

Carers UK - photographer Paul Doyle
Carers UK - photographer Paul Doyle

"Our web forum provides a place for carers to share experiences and seek support from people in similar situations," said Madeleine Starr, head of innovation at Carers UK.

The forum has more than 3,000 active members - the best testament to the power of the internet comes from them. Here are some examples:

"I don’t know what I'd have done without the help and support I've had from my cyber mates. I pour out all my troubles here, knowing full well that everyone totally understands. This site was the first place I knew that there were other people in similar situations to me. It was a godsend."

"This site has been a lifeline, and I believe it is essential to me now."

In response to the question "How would you prioritise the internet?", all but one of the respondents at the online forum put it at the top of their list of ‘must-haves’.

The number of Carers UK Advice Line queries dealt with by e-mail has trebled in the past year, increasing the capacity of the service.

In 2010 the charity enabled more than 200 carers and professionals around the world to participate in the charity's international conference by broadcasting it over the internet. It estimates this to have saved them about £100,000 in travel costs and expenses.

Its members save £12 by signing up online, and Carers UK has saved more than £6,000 on postage costs alone by conducting a research survey online and distributing Carers Rights Day materials by email.

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