Support available to help family and friend carers know their rights

Family and friend carers are being urged to know their rights, after a new report revealed that 81% are now providing more care than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic began.

To mark Carers Rights Day, on Thursday 25 November, Carers Support West Sussex – a charity which works closely with West Sussex County Council – will host a range of online events highlighting key information about carers rights and communication skills to help with advocacy.

The workshops aim to tackle some of the main concerns for carers which emerged in the findings of the Carers Week 2021 report.

As well as showing that more than 8 out of 10 unpaid carers are providing more support to loved ones since the start of the pandemic, the report revealed that 71% of carers are stressed and anxious, while 74% feel exhausted because of caring. The report also found that 65% of carers feel lonely and isolated.

Carers Support West Sussex offers unpaid carers with information and guidance along with practical and emotional support, so they feel valued and supported.

Many carers are unaware of their eligibility for carer benefits, as demonstrated in the following case.

One carer successfully applied for a wellbeing fund and a carers discount card, after they were referred to Carers Support West Sussex. They have been able to use the extra income to pay for a swimming membership which supports their rehabilitation from a knee replacement operation, as well as providing valuable respite from their caring duties.

Another carer was able to claim an additional £480 in allowances each month after being helped by the Benefits Advice Service. The money helped ease the financial anxiety the carer was experiencing as the live-in carer for both her retired parents.

Carers Support West Sussex also offers help and guidance through events and sessions held specifically for young adult carers. One beneficiary is now able to study at university, after previously worrying about the burden that would be placed on her mother to care for her father if she was to move away. Being able to speak to a Carers Support wellbeing worker gave her reassurance and reduced levels of anxiety about moving away to university.

Emotional and practical support is also available to young carers under the age of 18 via the county council’s West Sussex Young Carers Service.

“We are delighted to host workshops to enable carers to learn more about their rights and raise their confidence to manage their caring role. Our aim is to be there for carers when they are most in need, to be present in the local community and to personalise support for each individual carer,” said Sonia Mangan, Chief Executive of Carers Support West Sussex.

Cllr Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, added: “Carers perform a vital role, often making countless sacrifices in their own lives to look after loved ones.

“I have huge respect and admiration for our community of family and friend carers, but I also acknowledge just how tough it can be for them, both practically and emotionally.

"It is really important that people are aware of their rights, so that they can look after their own health needs as well as those of their loved ones. It is often too easy for people to ignore their own wellbeing as they focus more and more on those they care for."

Anyone interested in attending one of the Carers Support West Sussex online sessions is encouraged to book a place for these events on its website. Spaces are limited and the events have reached capacity quickly in previous years.

Carers Support West Sussex can be contacted by calling 0300 028 8888 or emailing info@carerssupport.org.uk. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Visit www.carerssupport.org.uk/carers-rights-day for more details of activities for Carers Rights Day.

Notice Date: 16/11/2021