Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Social Services
During Carers Week, I am always delighted to highlight the care and dedication which so many unpaid carers provide across Wales. I believe it should also be a time for the Welsh Government to set out the action they are taking to support unpaid carers.
Welsh Government has a proud history of working with and supporting unpaid carers but we are keen to do more - since January 2022 we have allocated over £42million of additional funding to help unpaid carers of all ages and backgrounds.
Today I am announcing £4.5million to continue our Carers Support Fund over the next three years. The Support Fund, administered by Carers Trust Wales, was established in 2020 and has helped over 10,000 carers on low incomes to buy basic essential items that they need. The Fund has also helped to identify a substantial number of carers who were previously unknown to services – in some areas 70% of the applicants were previously unknown carers - the average figure across Wales is 29%. Eligibility for the grants is not linked to benefit entitlement.
Last month, we invested £29million to provide 57,000 unpaid carers in Wales with a one-off payment of £500. Unpaid carers who were in receipt of Carers Allowance on March 31st2022 can now register with their local authority to claim the payment. The registration period ends on July 15th.
People with caring responsibilities often need to take a break to recharge and focus on their own well-being. To provide more opportunities for unpaid carers to ‘take time for me’, £9million has been made available over three years to establish a national short breaks scheme. We have invited third sector organisations with expertise in supporting carers to submit an expression of interest for the role of national coordinating body to oversee the scheme and encourage innovation.
Finally, for the first time Wales will be hosting its own Young Carers’ Festival this summer. The festival will offer young carers a chance to meet and talk with their peers and have three days of relaxation and fun.
The financial support highlighted above demonstrates that Welsh Government is committed to improving the lives of unpaid carers and sends a clear message to all that unpaid carers in Wales are hugely important, recognised, valued and visible.