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Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact Carers UK’s press office through the contact details below.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 020 7378 4972

Christine Casely, Senior Media and Case Studies Officer, Carers UK

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Out of hours telephone: 07534 487 027

Case studies, good practice examples and spokespeople are available on request.

 

News

Carers’ questions answered by the Minister for Care, for Carers Week 2020

26 June 2020

The Minister for Care, Helen Whately MP has answered questions from carers about what actions the Government is taking to support unpaid carers.

Carers had an opportunity to ask the Minister for Care about an issue impacting carers during the COVID-19 outbreak and the wider challenges faced by unpaid carers. To respond to the questions that range from when respite service will be restored to if the Government will introduce a new strategy to support carers, the Minister for Care has filmed five videos.

The questions asked by carers and the Minister's responses are available by clicking here and include the following:

  • A question from carers regarding the Government introducing a new plan for carers, a carers’ strategy, or a second action plan for carers.
  • Mark asks about when respite breaks and services be fully restored for unpaid carers.
  • Alison asks about when unpaid carers will have frequent access to COVID testing, to allow safe access to relatives living with dementia.
  • Nicki asks about what the Government is doing to support the health and well-being of unpaid carers.
  • Penny asks about the support Government will put in place to ensure unpaid carers are able to recover physically and mentally from the coronavirus crisis.

Covid-19 pandemic: 4.5 million become unpaid carers in a matter of weeks

08 June 2020
  • 4.5 million additional people caring for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends since the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Unpaid carers and those not caring just as worried about stress and responsibility of providing care
  • UK public demands better deal for unpaid carers
  • Carers Week charities call on Government to recognise unpaid carers’ efforts and rebuild country’s care and support services

New figures released for Carers Week (8th – 14th June 2020) show an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.

2.7 million women (59%) and 1.8 million men (41%) have started caring for relatives who are older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness.

Typically, they will have been supporting loved ones from afar, helping with food shopping, collecting medicine, managing finances and providing reassurance and emotional support during the pandemic.

Some will have taken on intense caring roles, helping with tasks such as personal care, moving around the home, administering medication and preparing meals.

2.8 million people (62%) who have started caring since the outbreak are also juggling paid work alongside their caring responsibilities, highlighting the need for working carers to be supported as they return to offices and work sites.

The six charities supporting Carers Week - Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness – are calling on the UK Government to recognise and raise awareness of the role unpaid carers are playing during the pandemic and ensure they are supported through it, and beyond.

Both unpaid carers (71%) and adults without caring responsibilities (70%) said managing the stress and responsibility of being an unpaid carer was/ would be the top challenge when caring. Families are under a huge amount of pressure managing their caring roles and are worried about how they will cope in the weeks and months ahead.

On behalf of the charities supporting Carers Week, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“Recognising the contribution of unpaid carers to our society and properly supporting them has never been more important than during this pandemic. An additional 4.5 million people are caring for sick, older or disabled loved ones – that’s the NHS workforce three times over. It demonstrates the scale of the care being provided behind closed doors, mostly hidden from view.

“Unpaid carers are the pillars of our health and social care systems. Yet many say they feel invisible and ignored. There are thousands caring round the clock without the practical support they would normally rely on to take a break, while others face increased costs accessing food and care products.

“The Government must not take unpaid carers for granted in this crisis. It must ensure their physical and mental health is looked after and it is imperative that, moving out of the pandemic, the Government rebuilds our care system so that carers are supported and families have the services they need to live better lives.”

Polling of more than 4,000 members of the UK general public over 18 shows unpaid carers have become more visible within society since the pandemic began. There is a majority consensus for unpaid carers to receive more support from the Government than they do currently.

  • Nearly half (48%) of the public who have never cared said they are more aware of unpaid carers than before the outbreak.
  • More than two thirds (69%) of the public do not think that unpaid carers have been supported by the Government during the crisis.
  • Three quarters (75%) thought the Government should increase support for unpaid carers: such as better financial support as well as investment in care and support services so that carers can take a break.

Read the full report here.

The six Carers Week charities are calling on Government to urgently deliver a plan for social care reform and set out long term investment in care and support services. This would give unpaid carers the opportunity to take breaks from their caring role, and stay in paid work if they want to. The charities want to see an urgent rise in Carer's Allowance – currently just £67.25 a week - and a one-off coronavirus supplement, in recognition of the vital role unpaid carers have played in the pandemic and the significant costs associated with caring.

The headline supporter of Carers Week 2020 is British Gas, who will be hosting a virtual Care for a Cuppa session with its employees with caring responsibilities, and Nutricia also supporting.

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Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact Carers UK who are handling media queries for Carers Week:

020 7378 4937 (daytime)

07580 130090/ 07941 273 108 (out of hours) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors

About the research

This research is based on polling carried out by YouGov plc in May 2020.

Number of carers

The number of carers is based on YouGov Polling and ONS 2019 population estimates. The rise in number of carers was extrapolated from polling carried out by YouGov plc in May 2020 in a survey of 4,557 UK adults. Taking 17% of the adult population who say they currently give unpaid support to someone and did this before the coronavirus outbreak, and the further 9% who say they have started giving unpaid support to someone since the coronavirus outbreak.

Applying it to 2019 population estimates of those aged 18 and over for each nation in the UK.

About Carers Week 2020

Carers Week takes place from 8-14 June 2020 across the UK. The theme is Making Caring Visible.

Carers Week, established by Carers UK 26 years ago, is an annual awareness campaign which takes place recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with hundreds of virtual events planned for carers across the UK. Website: www.carersweek.org

Twitter: @CarersWeek #carersweek Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarersWeek

What is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health condition or who needs extra help as they grow older.

The Centrica and Carers UK partnership

British Gas is the headline supporter of Carers Week 2020.

Carers UK and Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, are in a strategic partnership, building on a 15-year relationship which has helped Centrica develop leading policies to support employees who are carers. This includes providing paid care leave and a thriving UK carers’ employee network. Together we want to create a world where every carer feels recognized, valued and supported. That means sharing useful information, raising awareness and finding new ways to care for our loved ones in their homes. We hope to make a lasting difference.

To mark Carers Week 2020, Centrica’s UK employees will be invited to a virtual Carer for a Cuppa – with Centrica carers sharing their stories of caring during lockdown and reminding colleagues of the support available to them through their award winning carers policies.

About Nutricia

Nutricia is also supporting Carers Week 2020. Nutricia is the UK’s largest provider of specialist medical nutrition products and services. Nutricia believes in the power of nutrition to make a positive difference to health. Nutricia provide a wide range of products and services that meet the needs of patients and healthcare professionals alike. For example, through the Nutricia Homeward service medical nutrition products, tube feeding systems are delivered and nursing care given directly to nearly 30,000 patients across the UK.

To ensure that patients have access to the right nutritional care when they need it the most, Nutricia work closely and collaboratively with a variety of organisations and healthcare professionals.

Carers UK is working in partnership with Nutricia to help improve understanding about nutrition and care amongst carers. They provide support to carers though information resources, training, social media days and website information. For more information on Nutricia visit www.nutricia.co.uk

Carers Week charities highlight role of unpaid carers during COVID-19 outbreak in virtual roundtable with Care Minister

21 May 2020

Roundtable sml

 

The six national charities supporting Carers Week 2020, sponsors, NHS England, ADASS and local government representatives joined a virtual roundtable with the Care Minister, Helen Whately on Wednesday 20th May 2020 to discuss the vital role of unpaid carers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Marking the start of the countdown to Carers Week, which takes place between 8th and 14th June 2020, the roundtable was an opportunity for the charities to highlight the additional pressure on unpaid carers during the pandemic and the support they will need in the future. Previous research by Carers UK showed that 70% of unpaid carers were providing more care for loved ones during the lockdown period, and 55% felt overwhelmed and worried about burning out.

 

Barbara, who cares for her father who is undergoing palliative care for heart and kidney failure and has dementia, explained the changes to her caring role since the outbreak began and outlined the support that would help her in the future.

 

Senior representatives from Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association and Oxfam GB, British Gas and Nutricia explained some of the impacts of the virus on the communities they represent. In line with this year’s theme, Making Caring Visible, the group discussed the level of visibility and recognition of carers and how this could be improved, the importance of getting the right information and advice to carers, and increasing support for working carers

 

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

 

“Unpaid carers are playing an essential role during the Covid-19 outbreak and, rightly, they want recognition for their efforts. The roundtable with the Care Minister was an important opportunity to explain the main challenges they’re facing right now, and discuss together what support they will need as the country transitions back to the new ‘normal’."

 

Helen Whately, Minister for Care, said:

 

“I am incredibly appreciative of the huge contribution that carers make, especially during these uncertain times. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, we are all adapting to new ways of living.

“This roundtable gave us an opportunity both to discuss the invaluable contribution of carers during these unprecedented times and hear from carers like Barbara directly about their lived experience of this pandemic.

“I’d like to thank Carers UK and all those involved in the event. I will make sure I play my part as Care Minister and will look to pledge my support and encourage others across government to do the same."

UK’s unpaid carers seven times lonelier than general public

10 June 2019

 

Loneliness epidemic facing UK’s unpaid carers

 

  • Urgent support needed as number of adult carers rises by a third to nearly 9 million
  • Seven national charities call for step change in the way society supports those caring unpaid for family and friends.

 

Unpaid carers looking after loved ones living with an illness, disability, mental health condition or as they grow older are seven times more likely to be lonely compared with the general public, new figures suggest.

Not having enough time, or money, to participate in leisure activities, as well as the stigma of being a carer, means one in three unpaid carers (35 per cent) are always or often lonely, compared with just one in twenty (five per cent) of the general population.

 

Research released for Carers Week 2019 (10th – 16th June) also reveals unpaid carers feel what they do in life is significantly less worthwhile compared with the rest of the population, with those struggling financially over a third less likely to feel that the things they do in their life are worthwhile. This is despite the vital support carers provide their loved ones and their enormous contribution to society.

The extent of loneliness and poor wellbeing amongst carers is revealed as new estimates suggest there could be far more people caring unpaid than previously thought.

 

There are a potential 8.8 million adult carers in the UK, up from 6.3 million estimated in the 2011 census – a huge increase of a third.

With one in six adults now taking on a caring role and at a heightened risk of loneliness – referred to as one of the greatest public health challenges of our time - seven national charities have come together to highlight the urgent need to tackle loneliness and improve wellbeing among the UK’s carers, who all too often put their needs second.

 

On behalf of Carers Week charities, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

 

“With as many as one in six adults in the UK now taking on an unpaid caring role it is high time our society recognises and values the crucial support they provide.

“Many unpaid carers struggle alone without support. If we are to combat the loneliness epidemic facing them it is imperative that everyone – Government, employers, health and care professionals, schools and universities, and each of us individually – plays a role putting carers in touch with practical and financial help.

“Carers need to feel they are valued, understood and connected to their community.”

 

The research comes from a survey of carers, the majority of whom provide over 50 hours of care for a loved one each week.

Evidence shows those worst affected by loneliness are parent carers looking after disabled children under 18 years old, being nearly ten times lonelier than the general public.

Unpaid carers report being twice as anxious as the general public, and those struggling financially or going without practical support with caring are half as satisfied with life as the rest of the population.

The findings show how financial and practical support can help improve the wellbeing of the UK’s 8.8 million carers and get them better connected to their communities.

 

You can read the full report here. 

 

The charities supporting Carers Week 2019 are calling for unpaid carers to be at the heart of much needed reforms to the funding of social care and for carers to be better supported financially. They are Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, Rethink Mental Illness and Sense.

The headline supporter of Carers Week 2019 is British Gas, who will be providing its customers with support and advice on unpaid caring throughout the week, and Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition also supporting.

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Media contact

Case studies and spokespeople are available on request.

For media enquiries, please contact Carers UK who are handling media queries for Carers Week:

020 7378 4937 (daytime)

07534 487 027 / 07941 273 108 (out of hours)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors

About the research

Increase in number of carers:

The rise in number of carers was extrapolated from polling carried out by YouGov in December 2018 and January 2019, taking 17% of the adult population who say they are a carer in response to and applied it to mid-2017 population estimates of those aged 18 and over for each nation in the UK.

Carer loneliness and wellbeing:

The population data on loneliness used for comparison is from the ONS Analysis of characteristics and circumstances associated with loneliness in England using the Community Life Survey, 2016 to 2017. Published in April 2018.

Population data on wellbeing is taken from the Personal well-being estimates for personal wellbeing averaged across 2018. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland comparisons for wellbeing are to the figure for that nation’s whole population.

Population data was compared with data from Carers UK’s State of Caring Survey. Carers UK carried out the online survey between March and May 2019 and a total of 8,096 carers and former carers responded to this survey. Responses from the 7,525 people who are currently providing care are included in this report. Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female and caring for a high number of hours every week.

About Carers Week 2019

Carers Week takes place from 10-16 June 2019 across the UK. The theme is Getting Carers Connected.

Carers Week, established by Carers UK 25 years ago, is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with hundreds of events planned for carers across the UK.

Website: www.carersweek.org

Twitter: @CarersWeek #carersweek

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarersWeek

There are lots of different ways to get involved in Carers Week. From sharing information with a struggling friend, to handing out leaflets at your local GP’s surgery, we all have a role to play to help get carers connected.

What is a carer?


A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health condition or who needs extra help as they grow older.

The Centrica and Carers UK partnership

Carers UK and Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, have entered into a strategic partnership, building on a 15-year relationship which has helped Centrica develop leading policies to support employees who are carers. This includes paid care leave and a thriving UK carers’ employee network.

Together we want to create a world where every carer feels recognized, valued and supported. That means sharing useful information, raising awareness and finding new ways to care for our loved ones in their homes. We hope to make a lasting difference.

British Gas is leading the way with its multi-channel Share That You Care campaign throughout 2019, encouraging a conversation about caring. Carers often don’t open up about the struggles they have, so they don’t get the support they need. Speaking to carers, British Gas has produced a series of videos to raise awareness of the issue, and encourage others to share their appreciation of the carers in their lives. British Gas will be communicating with customers and via social media and to help carers seek support through www.britishgas.co.uk/ShareThatYouCare. For Carers week, British Gas is focused on helping those struggling with the impact of Isolation and loneliness from caring, supporting the new research from Carers UK.

About Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition

Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition pioneers nutritional solutions that help people live longer, more joyful and healthier lives. Nutricia helps to address some of the world’s biggest health challenges including age-related conditions and chronic disease, such as frailty, cancer, stroke and early Alzheimer’s disease.

Carers UK is working in partnership with Nutricia to help improve understanding about nutrition and care amongst carers. They provide support to carers though information resources, training, social media days and website information.

For more information on Nutricia visit www.nutricia.co.uk

 

Carers Week highlights the physical and mental strain felt by unpaid carers

07 June 2018

The physical and mental strain of caring “jeopardising” unpaid carers’ ability to care in the future, warn national charities

 

Lack of sleep, performing care tasks and the impact on their finances named as top stressors by unpaid carers.

Eight national charities have come together to call for urgent support for unpaid carers to be Healthy and Connected as new research released at the start of Carers Week reveals the toll that caring can take on many carers’ own health and wellbeing.

 

Released for Carers Week 11th – 17th June, the research reveals:

Almost three quarters (72%) of carers in the UK said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while well over half (61%) said their physical health had worsened.

Unless more support is provided,national charities are warning that the UK’s carers won’t be healthy enough to care for loved ones in the future.

Carers Week 2018 research

 

Cookery for Carers with Portsmouth City Council

09 April 2018

Many of us struggle to sustain a healthy diet, but the added responsibility of caring for a loved one can make food choices an afterthought. This year, nearly half of carers responding to our State of Caring survey said they struggle to maintain a balanced diet whilst 6 in 10 said their physical health had worsened since they started caring.

 Carers Week Eating Well 650

Combating Loneliness in the Workplace

03 April 2018

Caring for the people we love can feel like the most natural thing in the world. Yet, financial, emotional, and even physical demands have the power to create isolation – especially if your caring obligations are less understood in the workplace. On top of this, many people do not identify themselves as carers. 

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Sue explains the difference a carer friendly GP can make

12 June 2017

Former carer, Sue, tells us how a GP surgery supported her when she was caring for her mum, who had Alzheimer's disease.

"I was with mum when she got her diagnosis and it was a shock, even though I had suspected for a few years that she wasn't well. I didn't know what to do or what would happen in the future. My mum's GP didn't just give us her diagnosis and send us on our way; he was very helpful. He printed off information on Alzheimer's and identified me as a carer, pointing me to support.

Carers Week

Carers Week 2020 headline supporter:

 

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Carers Week is also supported by:

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These organisations have joined together to make Carers Week happen in 2020:

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    • CT - Main Logo - RGB
    • Carers UK new logo
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    • OGB logo green RGB
    • RethinkMentalIllness MasterLogo-transparent

 

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