The new advocacy service, run by Swansea Carers’ Centre with funding from the Big Lottery AdvantAGE Fund, will cater for carers over 50, giving much needed support and information such as welfare benefit advice, access to grants and special funds, carers’ mutual support groups, training and consultation opportunities.
The Deputy Minister recently launched a 12-week consultation on the draft of a refreshed Carers Strategy for Wales. The strategy looks at how support for carers needs to adapt to meet the demands of an ageing population, which has increased the pressure on unpaid carers and the agencies that support them.
The strategy covers carers of all ages, and focuses on a wide range of issues including promoting carer’s health and well being, developing new models of respite care, and supporting carers who are in employment.
With over 350,000 carers in Wales, 90,000 of whom look after family or friends for at least 50 hours a week, it is important to consider the needs of all carers.
The Deputy Minister said:
“Carers are key partners in the delivery of care. Without the contribution that carers make every day, the work of statutory authorities would collapse.
“It is staggering to think that between 70 and 95 per cent of the care provided to people in communities across Wales is given freely by family and friends. Carers’ Rights Day is an opportunity to celebrate their contribution and to raise awareness of some of the issues that unpaid carers face.
“As a society we owe a huge debt to the large number of people who provide unpaid care and support to relatives, friends or neighbours who are disabled, frail or otherwise vulnerable. It is vitally important that these many unpaid carers are themselves supported and are not disadvantaged as a result of their caring role.
“Carers are central to our work of transforming the social care agenda as part of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill. The Bill will contain a number of measures to strengthen and promote carers’ rights.”