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10-16 June 2024

Val Pain, 74, from Littlehampton in West Sussex, is a carer for her husband Chris, 86, who is a retired Met Police officer. Chris has had serious mobility issues since suffering a fall last year which led to a three-month hospital stay. Since then, he has gone from being independent and driving every day to not being able to get around without a walking frame. 

For Val, this is even more challenging because she had a stroke four years ago which left her with weakness down her right side, drastically reducing the amount of things she can do too. 

She said: “We feel we’ve been left in the lurch. It’s very hard to be a carer where you really need a carer yourself. Carers are being treated terribly. We’re just left within our four walls to get on with it. The extra money we have to spend to get things done around the house that neither of us can physically do is going through the roof.” 

Val, a retired bank worker, estimates she and her husband’s extra annual costs have grown by thousands of pounds because of their disabilities as they now have to pay for things like cleaners and carers to come in the morning. This has been made worse by the rising cost of living. 

She applied for money from the Household Support Fund with help from Carers Support West Sussex as energy costs soared. Val received £300 last December to help pay for heating. 

She explained: “Our bills shot up so much. Because of my stroke I get cold and I can’t move very quickly, so heating is very important for us. The money from the Household Support Fund made a big difference for us – every penny does."

“These little things add up especially as the cost of everything has increased so much. I can’t cook because it’s not safe to do one hand so we have to rely on ready meals and they’re so expensive now too. We thought with Chris having a police pension that would be enough to see us through but it goes so quickly.” 


With thanks to Val for sharing her story.

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