Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, is showing his support for unpaid carers across the country by backing this week's annual awareness campaign, Carers Week.
Carers Week 2016 (6th-12th June) aims to raise awareness of the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people in the UK who care unpaid for a disabled, older or ill family member or friend, and the pressures and challenges they face.
Stress, anxiety and depression are all too common among carers in the UK, who often struggle to combine their caring responsibilities with work, education, and personal relationships. New research launched for Cares Week 2016 shows that 3 in 4 carers don’t feel that their caring role is understood or valued by their community. The survey found that:
- 51% of carers have let a health problem go untreated and 50% said their mental health has got worse, while 4 in 10 haven’t received any training or information about how to stay well.
- A third of carers (33%) say their employer doesn’t have policies in place to support them. Of these, 72% had to give up work or reduced their hours, and more than half have suffered higher stress levels (57%) or struggled financially (55%).
- Nearly half (46%) of carers say there are no policies in place to support them at their school, college or university. 48% of these were unable to progress their education and were forced to give up their studies.
That is why the focus for this year’s Carers Week is on ‘Building Carer Friendly Communities’ – communities which support carers to look after their loved ones, while also recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.
In a Carer Friendly Community, for example, a GP service might offer appointments at times that fit around a person’s caring responsibilities; employers might offer flexible working hours; and a college or university could offer young carers flexible timetables and coursework extensions to allow students to continue their education and work towards a bright future.
Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson and former Minister of State for Care and Support (2012-15), said:
“It is extremely important that we recognise the dedicated and inspiring care given by millions of unpaid carers every single day. Whether it’s by providing emotional support, personal care like getting someone dressed and helping them to the bathroom, or helping with daily routines like shopping, cleaning and cooking, carers make an invaluable contribution to society which too often goes unnoticed.
“Yet without the right support and understanding from the community, the pressure of being a carer can take its toll. Nobody should be expected to care for someone else without support for their own personal, physical and emotional wellbeing, and that is why I’m pledging my support for the campaign to build Carer Friendly Communities.
“By doing things a little differently, we can make a really positive difference to the lives of carers by helping them to pursue an education, stay in work, and find the time to look after their own health. I hope this year’s Carers Week will be a catalyst to provide carers with the help and support they need.”
About Carers Week 2016
Carers Week takes place from 6–12 June 2016, across the UK.
Carers Week 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 thousands of events planned for carers across the UK.
Carers Week is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and MS Society. Carers Week is supported by Sainsbury’s, Nutricia and the Lockwood Charitable Foundation.
Facts about carers
- 6.5 million people in the UK are carers; that’s 1 in 8 adults
- By 2037, it is estimated that the number of carers in the UK will rise to 9 million
- Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people every year
- 58% of carers are women and 42% are men
- Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer
- Over 3 million people juggle care with work, however the significant demands of caring mean that 1 in 5 carers are forced to give up work altogether