Millions of people across the UK care unpaid for family and friends who have a disability, illness, mental health condition or need extra help as they grow older. Their support is crucial, but often comes at a cost to their health and financial resilience.
In many cases, unpaid carers aren’t supported to recognise their caring role quickly enough, meaning they miss out on the financial, practical and emotional support available. This intensifies the impact of providing care, with carers missing out on benefits and entitlements, while others are forced to give up work altogether.
We need a whole system approach to identifying and supporting unpaid carers. Governments, local authorities, commissioners and providers, employers, and family and friends must play their part in identifying and supporting them. Carers Week is a vital opportunity to raise awareness of unpaid carers within our communities.
The charities supporting Carers Week 2023 called on the UK Government to deliver coordinated cross-Government action to better identify and support unpaid carers. This action would focus on helping carers to stay in or return to work, prevent poverty, combat loneliness, improve carers’ health and wellbeing and improve equality of opportunity.