We hope that all of your activities are going well for Carers Week! It’s great to see such a breadth of ways that organisations and individuals are going the extra mile to support carers this Carers Week. There has never been a more important time to make caring Visible, Valued and Supported. Don’t forget that you can still add your activities to the Carers Week to be part of the movement here.
We also wanted to share with you the new research we’ve released today which shows the rising pressures that unpaid carers are currently facing.
You won’t be surprised to hear that many carers are struggling with the ongoing impact and negative legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. The continued strain on social care services, many of which remain unavailable to carers, combined with the current cost of living crisis, have left carers urgently needing more support. Tellingly, when asked about their needs, the impact of caring on their own physical and mental health has topped carers’ concerns for the first time, and millions are worried about coping financially.
Specifically, the research we have released – based on national polling by YouGov – shows:
- More than 4.6 million unpaid carers are concerned about their physical and mental health and over 2 million carers are worried about their ability to cope financially
- More care is being provided by unpaid carers than ever before, even more than during the height of the pandemic. The number of people providing substantial care (i.e. over 20 hours of care or more per week) has risen by 42% across the UK since October 2020; while the number providing more than 50 hours has increased by 30%.
- There are also more unpaid carers in 2022 than before the pandemic, with one in five of the UK’s adults (approximately 10.6 million people) now supporting a relative, close friend or neighbour because of chronic illness, including mental ill-health, dementia, disability, or older age.
- There is overwhelming public support for more Government action to help unpaid carers - 84% of the general public think that the UK governments should provide additional support to unpaid carers, including increased financial support and investment in care and support services so that unpaid carers can have a break. Only 3% disagreed.
The seven charities supporting Carers Week 2022 (Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association, Rethink Mental Illness, Oxfam GB and The Lewy Body Society) are calling for Government to develop a Recovery and Respite Plan dedicated to the needs of carers, including specific investment in their mental health support, prioritising carer’s leave, boosting carer’s incomes to reduce the risk of poverty and hardship, help with food and energy costs and, ahead of the winter, prioritisation in the vaccination programme.
Please see the open letter we have collectively sent to the Prime Minister and other Government Ministers regarding a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers here.
If you would like to support our campaign, you can do so by:
- Backing our call for Government to develop a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers by writing to your MP regarding the support carers need.
- Making a pledge.
- Supporting our campaign, and Carers Week more widely, on social media – using #CarersWeek – please see a suggested tweet below:
COVID has had a profound effect on the lives of carers and the people they care for. I support @carersweek in calling for the UK Government to publish a Recovery and Respite Plan for Unpaid Carers! carersweek.org/open-letter
Thank you for getting involved in Carers Week and helping us make caring Visible, Valued and Supported.
The Carers Week team