First ever Carers Assembly in Wales to be held at the National Assembly for Wales to celebrate Carers Rights Day

Carers UK and Carers Wales call on the public to help carers get the support they’re entitled to this Carers Rights Day – with the launch of Upfront, our new online guide for carers.

Hundreds of events are taking place in communities throughout the UK today to mark Carers Rights Day and help carers find out more about their rights.

Today, Carers Wales is holding its first ever Carers Assembly in the Old Debating Chamber at the National Assembly for Wales.  Carers are travelling from across the length and breadth of Wales to take up their AMs constituency seats to have a debate about what matters to them.

Carers Rights Day is a national awareness day organised by the charity Carers UK to inform the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers of their rights, benefits and the services they are entitled to.

Given that carers save Wales £8.1 billion a year if the care they provided had to be replaced by the State, this Assembly will highlight key issues in relation to social care that matter to carers.  Carers need to be listened to, supported, and recognised and valued by service commissioners.  Without their unpaid help, the system would collapse.

Just under half of carers providing substantial care to a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in Wales may be missing out on vital support*, according to new research by Carers UK which is also launched today.

Carers UK and Carers Wales is calling on the public to help people who they know are caring for an older, disabled or seriously-ill loved one to make sure they find out about what they are entitled to and what support is available to them. 

A Survey  by the charity of almost 5,000 carers in the UK found that in Wales just under half of those (44%) who provide 35 hours or more care a week have not had a Carer’s Assessment  from their local authority. This is despite all carers who provide regular or substantial care being entitled to a Carer’s Assessment at the point the survey was carried out . In April 2016 the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act will be introduced in Wales that will strengthen carer’s rights to this support and services.

A Carer’s Assessment is an important step towards carers getting the support they need as well as getting the right financial information and advice. Previous studies by the charity show that £1.1 billion of Carer’s Allowance (the main benefit for carers) goes unclaimed every year  and a recent report from the Department for Work and Pensions found that 95% of carers who are entitled to Carer’s Credit, which provides National Insurance contributions for those who have taken time out from work to care, are not claiming it .

In order to ensure carers are able to get the information and support they need when they need it, Carers UK and Carers Wales is today launching Upfront – the first online guide of its kind to give tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring. The charity is also publishing its annual Carers Rights Guide, which gives up-to-date information on carers’ rights and signposts them to support services.

Keith Bowen, Director of Carers Wales said:

“Important developments in the rights of carers mean it’s never been more important to make sure carers get the right information and advice about what they’re entitled to, when they need it. Helping carers to know their rights is at the heart of everything we do at Carers UK; we offer expert information and advice through our website and Adviceline, and connect carers to one another through our online forum to ensure that no-one has to care alone. So if you know someone who is caring for a loved one, connect them to Carers UK this Carers Rights Day.

“Every year in Wales 120,000 people begin caring for a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one. Taking on a new caring role can happen quite suddenly and can turn many families’ lives upside down. It could be that a partner has a stroke, a parent has a fall, or a child is born with a disability. When people take on a new caring role, they worryingly tell us that it can be really difficult to get the help and advice they need. Without this support, caring can take a serious toll on a person’s health, finances and wellbeing.

“That’s why Carers UK has created Upfront – the first online guide of its kind to give tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring. We are also publishing our annual Carers Rights Guide to make sure carers are informed about any changes to their rights and know where to go to get the support they need. This Carers Rights Day, you can make a positive difference to the life of a carer by connecting them to Carers Wales and Carers UK.”

Find out more about how Carers UK can help you:

  • Carers UK’s new online guide to caring, Upfront, can be accessed here:                   www.carersuk.org/upfront
  • Carers UK’s Carers Rights Guide can be downloaded from today atwww.carersuk.org/carersrightsguide. Four versions of the guide are available for carers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can order a free print copy of the guide by calling Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or emailing advice@carersuk.org
  • You can contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 or advice@carersuk.org (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm)
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