Thousands of people looking after a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one in the region may be missing out on vital benefits and support.
It’s estimated that there are over 18,000 carers in York alone, with around 1,300 under the age of 18.
Carers Rights Day (Friday 20th November) brings together organisations across the UK to help carers in their local community find out about their rights and how to get the help and support they are entitled to.
It’s hoped that the Day will help reach out to the 6.5 million people in the UK who care for an older, seriously-ill or disabled loved one, informing them of the rights, benefits and the services they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, short breaks and access to equipment and technology which can help them in their caring role.
Carole Zagrovic, Chief Executive of York Carers Centre, said:
“It’s vital that we reach out to the thousands of carers in York and let them know about their rights and the support they could be entitled to. We will be able to provide carers with important advice and information to make sure they know how to get the financial and practical support they need, when they need it.”
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Every day, 6,000 people begin caring for a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one. But when this caring journey starts, it can be hard to get the help and advice you need. Without this support, caring can take a serious toll on a carer’s health, finances and wellbeing. No one should have to care alone and Carers Rights Day events mean they don’t have to; carers can get the essential information and advice they need and connect with other local carers.”
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive member for Adult Social Care and Health, City of York Council, said: “Carers are the unsung heroes of our communities. They provide care and support to friends and loved-ones, but are often unaware of the help and support they can get themselves. Often carers do not realise the importance or significance of the work they do. Carers Rights Day is an opportunity to celebrate the impact carers have in our society, while raising the profile of the rights they have and help available.”
Carers can download a copy of the Carers’ Rights’ Guide at www.carersuk.org/carersrightsguide or order a free copy by calling the Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about York Carers Centre, please contact email@example.com or phone 01904 715490.
Case study: Leigh’s story
Father-of-three Leigh cares for his daughter, 15-year-old Lucy. Lucy uses a wheelchair and can’t sit up unaided. Her speech is limited and she also has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
She sleeps very little, so Leigh is often up with her during the night trying to comfort her and sitting with her while she watches movies. He washes, dresses and feeds her with specially prepared food. She needs to be hoisted and log-rolled and to be moved around to make her more comfortable. He also gives her her medication.
Lucy had spinal surgery which has helped to ease her condition. Leigh, who gave up his job in bar management 11 years ago, in order to care for his family, is supported by York Carers Centre where he has regular ‘meet ups’ and has attended a first-aid course.
He said: “It’s great to have my voice heard rather than just being seen as Lucy’s carer. I get to be Leigh the dad, not Leigh the carer. When I tell some people that I care for my daughter it is a conversation stopper or all they want to do is talk about your caring role. Being a part of the group gives me a chance to speak to others in a similar position.”