Carers’ charities, Carers Centre Newcastle, Carers Northumberland and North Tyneside Carers’ Centre welcome UK-wide research on unpaid carers which shows they can struggle on for years looking after sick or disabled family members or friends without help.
The study is from the new leading carers’ charity Carers Trust of which Carers Centre Newcastle, Carers Northumberland and North Tyneside Carers’ Centre are Network Partners.
The research shows that almost two thirds (64%) of the carers asked said that apart from family and friends they have never accessed any other support or services such as respite breaks or counselling. Six in ten (60%) of those that have been caring for more than five years have done so without accessing any additional support.
Of those who have sought out extra help, almost half (46%) did so after they were made aware that assistance was available specifically for carers, according to a survey of 500 unpaid adult carers. The research was carried out by YouGov for Carers Trust which works to ensure that information, advice and practical support are available to all carers across the UK through its Network Partners.
Sandi Downing, Chief Executive of Carers Northumberland, said: “This survey reinforces what Carers Centres know, that many unpaid carers struggle on without accessing any support. In Northumberland, we currently have almost 1400 carers registered with us, all receiving regular information and support, but we know there are many more in the county who could benefit from our services. Carers themselves say that even a little support can make a huge difference, yet there are still thousands carrying on alone.”
Battling on as a carer without support can lead to serious problems in carers’ lives. Almost six in ten (59%) carers said that being a carer had a negative impact on their working life. And almost six in ten (58%) of the carers surveyed said that their mental health has been affected by being a carer while more than a quarter (27%) said both their physical and mental health has been adversely affected by their caring role.
A carer in North Tyneside said: “The package of support I received from North Tyneside Carers’ Centre has been so invaluable and made a huge difference to my physical and emotional wellbeing. The centre offers me an escape and the opportunity to think about me.”
Film and TV stars Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench are among the well-known names supporting Carers Trust. Dame Judi Dench said: ‘There are almost six million carers in the UK and the number is rising. Many of those carers are unaware of the support that is available to them and continue looking after their family or friends without any help and often at a cost to their own health and wellbeing.’
Carers Trust, recently formed by the merger of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care, works to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
Katie Dodd, the Carers Centre Newcastle Chief Executive said: ‘We are delighted to be part of the newly formed Carers Trust which means that we can represent the needs of local carers nationally. Therefore, the 1700+ carers we support are a part of a national network with a shared commitment to improving the lives of carers.’
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who has agreed to be President of Carers Trust said: ‘Carers Trust will provide a united and stronger voice for unpaid carers which will enable us to continue to raise awareness of carers’ issues with Government, other policy makers and the general public and hopefully increase funding opportunities to develop and deliver the services so needed by carers and those they care for.’
Carers can also get help by visiting their local Carers’ Centre or Crossroads Care Scheme or by going online at www.carers.org.
For more information please contact your local carers centre:
Carers Centre Newcastle
Tel: 0191 260 3030
6 Saville Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QD
Tel: 0167 051 8204
Suite 17, Wansbeck Business Centre, Rotary Parkway, Ashington, Northumberland, NE63 8QZ
North Tyneside Carers’ Centre
Tel: 0191 643 2298
Email: enquiries@ ntcarers. co. uk
3rd Floor, YMCA Building, Church Way, North Shields, NE29 0AB
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 503 adults who are unpaid carers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th – 20th March 2012. The survey was carried out online.
For further media information please contact: local carers’ centre/crossroads care scheme contact details as above.
Carers Trust* is a new UK-wide organisation created from the merger of two leading charities with a long history of supporting carers – Crossroads Care, established in 1974 and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, founded in 1991. To find your nearest carers’ centre or scheme, call 0844 800 4361.
*In Scotland, Carers Trust is still known as The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Scotland.