Join us in supporting National Carers Week #CarersWeek
Nationally, one in 10 adults in the UK provides unpaid care for a family member or friend who cannot cope without their help because of illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction. This translates to a huge number of hours of unpaid work and means that unpaid carers provide social care worth £57 billion a year, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS)
Looking at this on a more local level, for context, the City of Newcastle has a population of 279,100 people, with 25,644 of them registered as providing unpaid care and support to family, friends and neighbours. Further to this, more than 7000 of these 25,000 carers are providing more than 50 hours of unpaid care every week. (Census 2011, ONS)
We also know from the ONS’ census analysis, that people living in more deprived areas are more likely to spend higher numbers of hours a week providing unpaid care, which correlates with the risk of further deprivation and increases the risk of self-neglect, as carers are much less likely to seek medical help when needed than someone without this responsibility. (Report for the National Co-ordinating Centre for NHS Service Delivery and Organisation R & D (NCCSDO) 2003)
As well as the risk to carers’ health and wellbeing, caring can also have a detrimental effect on the future career prospects of those who take time out.
To help combat this, ahead of a growing need for unpaid carers and an expanding Health and Social Care workforce, the National Carers Action Plan (2018) has been released by government ahead of its forthcoming Green Paper on Care, recognising that specific actions are needed now to change this and increase the support and opportunities available to those who care.
The action plan retains the 2008 ‘strategic vision’ that carers will be universally recognised and valued as being fundamental to strong families and stable communities and highlights that carers are everyone’s business, not just those in the Health and Social Care system with emphasis on raising the profile of carers and caring roles.
As well as improvement actions for engaging with carers and for better identification of carers earlier in their caring journey, the action plan highlights a focus on employment and financial wellbeing, recognising that currently, though they do have some protection from discrimination under current employment law, there are no dedicated employment rights for carers and caring is not yet a protected characteristic.
As part of this action plan, there will be additional support for employers to retain carers in their workforce and for employers to understand the valuable skills and experience gained from taking time away from paid work to care for someone, to help make returning to work easier when it is time.
Local Authorities, as part of their statutory duty to offer support to unpaid carers, also usually offer support to ‘returners’ to work.
Returner support might include support to access bereavement counselling (a carer’s responsibilities coming to an end is not always a cause for celebration) or benefits and housing advice and employability support.
CACHE Alumni has features and resources that may be useful to unpaid carers and those that support them. Some of our Employer and organisation packages include bespoke employability events and workshops, with trained advisors. For all members, alongside support to access qualifications and employability advice, including our new CV builder CACHE Alumni’s affiliate membership options allow carers to access easy to understand information about legislation and best practice during their time as a carer and can help to keep track of any learning and development as they go.
If you work with unpaid carers or happen to be an unpaid carer yourself, please get in touch with our team to find out more about how CACHE Alumni might be able to help.
0191 240 8881