‘Caring is everyone’s business’ – that’s the message as Wales renews its commitment to unpaid carers today [Tuesday 23 March] by publishing a strategy and national priorities, one year on from the first lockdown in Wales.
There are an estimated 370,000 unpaid carers in Wales, with many having taken on the role for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new strategy is the result of engagement with unpaid carers and the groups and organisations who represent them.
It outlines how Wales is already supporting unpaid carers through various avenues of funding, support for the roll-out of a national young carers ID card, and also sets out revised national priorities.
These four national priorities are:
- identifying and valuing unpaid carers - all unpaid carers must be valued and supported to make an informed choice about the care they provide and to access the support they need whilst caring and when the caring role comes to an end
- providing information, advice and assistance - it is vital that all unpaid carers have access to the right information and advice at the right time and in an appropriate format
- supporting life alongside caring - all unpaid carers must have the opportunity to take breaks from their caring role to enable them to maintain their own health and well-being and have a life alongside caring
- supporting unpaid carers in education and the workplace - employers and educational / training settings should be encouraged to adapt their policies and practices, enabling unpaid carers to work and learn alongside their caring role
The strategy will be followed by a detailed delivery plan later in 2021, with its development guided by those it is designed to support.
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:
Caring is everyone’s business - it is likely most of us will take on a caring role at some point in our lives. We must value unpaid carers and acknowledge they are a fundamental part of Wales’ health and care system, supporting them as best we can.
I hope this strategy and supporting delivery plan due in the autumn will guide partnership working towards a society that recognises, values and supports unpaid carers of all ages and backgrounds to live well and achieve their own well-being outcomes.
Director for Carers Trust Wales, Simon Hatch, said:
We welcome this new strategy and the renewed commitment by Welsh Government to supporting unpaid carers. We are pleased that the strategy reflects the priorities carers have shared with us, particularly over this last very difficult year. It’s now crucial that the delivery plan which follows this strategy outlines the practical difference it will make to carers’ lives. Carers Trust Wales will continue to work hard in partnership with carers and all our partners to deliver the recognition and support unpaid carers deserve.