This month sees Carers Rights Day being held to raise awareness of the rights of unpaid carers. And we at Caring Together Charity are asking people to act so people looking after a family member or friend get the help that they need and deserve.
Carers have a range of rights that can make a huge difference to them but possibly the biggest barrier to them being able to access these rights is that there is such low awareness of who unpaid carers are.
People simply knowing what an unpaid carer is and that charities like Caring Together can support them is essential to carers making the most of the rights they have.
Even relatively small actions could have a huge impact on the lives of the more than 150,000 unpaid carers across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk.
More than three in five of us will be a carer at some point in our lives, and many of us will also need someone’s support due to long-term illness, disability, frailty or mental health challenges. None of us plan to become an unpaid carer, yet it will happen to most of us and caring is something that affects us all.
Miriam Martin, Caring Together’s Chief Executive said, “While caring is something that many of us come across and the demands of caring have a huge impact on the lives of many people, too often it is not recognised.
“More than 70% of people who are looking after someone, or who have done so, do not even recognise they are a carer. And that is a huge barrier to them getting support they may desperately need.
“We are asking people who are involved in shaping policies and services that affect carers to take action to address issues detailed in our Carers Speak Out report.
“But all of us can play a role and make a difference. Simply saying to someone you know who is helping a family member ‘did you know you can get support?’ could prevent them, and the person they care for reaching crisis point.”
Caring Together are asking people to pledge to support carers. People don’t need to say what action they will take but it could be:
- Checking a friend who is looking after a family member knows they can get support from Caring Together.
- Letting their employer know Caring Together have free resources available to help them be ready for the Carers Leave Act (which from next year means carers are legally entitled to a week of unpaid leave) at caringtogether.org/companies
- Putting up a poster at work or in your community. These are available free of charge, and you can request them at caringtogether.org/order-resources/
You can find out more about how you can make a difference to carers and pledge to support carers by visiting www.caringtogether.org/pledge
Carers Speak Out Report 2023
This report highlights the experiences of carers and how people can take actions to help more carers to be recognised and get the support that they need.
The rights carers have include to a Carer’s Assessment, to information and advice to help them in their caring role, and the new Carer’s Leave Act will entitle them to a week of unpaid leave each year.
You can download our Carers Rights fact sheet at www.caringtogether.org/resources