There are 6.5 million people in the UK providing unpaid care for an ill, older or disabled family member or friend. That’s 1 in 8 of your constituents.
Carers Week is an ambitious campaign, supported by seven major charities, to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the enormous contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.
In 2016 Carers Week will continue its focus on building Carer Friendly Communities – places where local people and services support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.
What are Carer Friendly Communities?
Carer Friendly Communities are aware of the part played by unpaid carers within their community, encouraging everyone – whether employers, public services, local amenities or businesses – to do something to make life better for carers.
Becoming more carer friendly might include:
- Putting employment policies in place to support carers, such as care leave or flexible working policies
- GP surgeries offering appointments that fit around caring responsibilities
- Schools and, colleges encouraging positive discussions about caring, ageing and disability
- High Street services like pharmacies, identifying carers and providing information and advice, signposting to carers where appropriate
How are we building Carer Friendly Communities?
We are asking organisations, services and employers to commit to take ‘carer friendly’ actions. We are also asking carers to recommend services that are already ‘carer friendly’ - sharing the good practice that already exists.
During Carers Week we will also be releasing research on carers’ experience of their communities and what barriers they face in accessing the support they need with their caring role.
Examples of taking carer friendly action as a Parliamentarian might include:
- Committing to visiting a local carers organisation in your community
- Pledging to speak up for carers in Parliament
- Encouraging organisations, services and employers in your constituency to become more carer friendly