Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
As we mark Carers’ Week, I want to pay tribute to unpaid carers throughout Wales, whose everyday efforts to look after loved ones, friends and relatives, particularly during this Covid 19 pandemic, should be respected and valued by all of us.
This week we celebrate the many tens of thousands of unpaid carers, who are too often the unsung heroes. They are an integral part of Wales’ health and care system and we need to support help and them to look after their own health and wellbeing.
Unpaid carers have spoken of difficulties accessing timely and appropriate respite and breaks to help them manage their own health and wellbeing. Respite is no longer just an overnight stay in a care home or an overnight sitting service for the person with care needs. It can take many forms – from having time to switch off and enjoy being with family and friends to a short break with or without the person being cared for.
To help address these respite needs, we are providing £3m in 2021-22 to support emergency respite care and the development of a short breaks fund.
In the first phase, £1.75m is being provided to Wales’ 22 local authorities to help meet the pressing need for respite among carers, including young carers, as the coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.
In phase two, £1.25m will develop a short breaks fund, working with the hospitality sector, to provide a range of short breaks. We commissioned research earlier this year from Carers Trust Wales and leading academics from Bangor and Swansea universities, to help us model the new fund.
Ensuring all carers are visible and valued is vital to ensure they are able to access their rights under the Social Services and Well-being Wales Act 2014. We launched a new strategy for unpaid carers in March and we are reaffirming our commitment to work with stakeholders across sectors and carers to ensure they have access to the right information, advice and support.