THE Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan, has marked Carers Rights Day today (November 23rd) by praising the important role of unpaid carers in communities across Wales and highlighting the support available to them.
Deputy Minister, Julie Morgan said:
“On this day, every year, we mark Carers Rights Day and our commitment to ensure unpaid carers receive the recognition and support they deserve.
Unpaid carers play a vital role in caring for family members, neighbours, and others in our communities who need additional care and support.
They are dedicated to supporting those they love and care for – ensuring they, in turn, are able to access the support they need, at the right time, helps to support their wellbeing and balances the daily demands of their lives.
There are more than 370,000 unpaid carers in Wales, who provide help and care for a relative or a friend with an illness, disability or who need additional help as they grow older.
Unpaid carers are often balancing their caring role with education, training, or employment. Or they may be retired and could have disabilities or health conditions of their own.
A key priority of the Welsh government is to improve support for unpaid carers of all ages and ensure they have more opportunities to meet their own needs.
The ‘Short Breaks Scheme’ enables unpaid carers in Wales to enjoy periods away from their caring role – to help boost their mental and physical wellbeing.
Since 2022, £6m has been invested into the scheme by the Welsh Government, which will enable an additional 30,000 carers to take a break to relax, socialise, or do activities that they have an interest in.
The Deputy Minister met with unpaid carers at Carers Trust Wales and heard about their personal experience of the Short Breaks Scheme.
An unpaid carer who accessed a short break through a group activity said:
“After our day trip, I felt less isolated, and I also felt that I belonged to a group of fellow carers who understood the pressures of caring.
This has helped me to understand and appreciate the pressure of caring and that help is there if needed to enable me to continue my caring role in the future.
Sometimes you just need a break to be able to see the way ahead. We have even set up a group chat to keep in contact and support each other in the days to come.”
Liz Wallis, Programme Lead for Short Breaks Wales said:
“The National Short Breaks Scheme has already been a lifeline for thousands of unpaid carers across Wales. Thanks to Welsh Government funding, Carers Trust has been able to work at pace with third sector organisations in all areas of Wales to create more person-centred opportunities for carers to take a break from their daily caring role.
“We are delighted that Welsh Government has invested in this transformational scheme which is an essential first step towards ensuring unpaid carers can get the rest, relaxation and fulfilment they need and deserve.
“The value of the short breaks programme is immeasurable not only because of the positive impact a short break has on unpaid carers’ health, wellbeing and ability to sustain their caring role but also the important message it conveys that unpaid carers in Wales are recognised, valued and a priority for support.
“Carers Trust is committed to working with Welsh Government and other partners to put ambitious plans in place to enable even more carers to access meaningful and fulfilling breaks.”
The Carers Support Fund for 2022-2024, has also enabled 24,000 unpaid carers on low incomes to buy basic essential items or access information and advice to manage their caring role.