Today marks the start of Carers Week 2021.
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.
The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to provide support for carers, run activities and highlight the vital role carers play in our communities, drawing attention to just how important caring is.
The new Carers Week research, “Breaks or Breakdown”, shows the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on carers; 72% of carers have not had any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic, and on average carers have lost 25 hours of support every month. This has resulted in them reporting high levels of fatigue and stress, and more than a third (35%) of people caring unpaid for family members or friends feel unable to manage their caring role. Carers are also desperately worried about the future, with just 14% feel confident that the support they used to rely on will continue into the future.
To ensure carers get the support they need, Carers UK are calling on the UK Government to invest an additional £1.2 billion of funding for carers’ breaks to help with recovery, as well as longer term sustainable funding for breaks for unpaid carers. The social care system must also be reformed and rebuilt, and enable carers and those they care for to get the services and support they desperately need, to protect their livelihoods, relationships and their physical and mental health.