Crossroads Care and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers have launched a new campaign called “Give Carers a Break.” The campaign aims at calling for PCTs to use their allocated government funds for carers breaks.
In November 2010 the Government announced that £400m would be made available to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to pay for breaks for adult and young carers. The announcement was welcomed by all carers and carers organisations, but there were concerns that the PCTs could use the funding for other purposes as the money is not “ring-fenced.”
Anne Roberts, Chief Executive, Crossroads Care, said: “Breaks from their caring role make a huge difference in helping carers to continue – it is not a luxury – for a carer it is essential to their well-being and ability to carry on. And, if they are unable to carry on caring, there will potentially be enormous care costs, which will add to the burden for the taxpayer.”
The two charities are asking carers and carers’ organisations throughout the country to highlight the local issues and work positively with PCTs and local authorities to achieve the best outcome for carers. At the same time, the campaign is calling for MPs to support the campaign in their areas.
Liz Fenton, Chief Executive, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: “The aim of this campaign is to ensure that every PCT spends as much of the allocated budget as possible supporting carers and that they publish their plans and budgets by October 2011 as required in the strategy to achieve the best outcome for carers. Carers make a significant contribution to our society and it is in everyone’s interest that they are supported in order to continue to care safely and in good health.”
Breaks for carers are not just things which are nice to have. They are vital for carers’ health and wellbeing, and for helping to continue with their caring roles. In a recent Government consultation, breaks were one of the main things which carers said they needed to help them carry on.
Dr John Avery, a carer from Hampshire, summed up the benefit of a break for carers “Respite for us as carers provides a break from the constant anxiety, emotional strain and physical drain of ensuring the on-going safety and well-being of our daughter”
In the consultation on the Carers Strategy, carers told the government that they need breaks and that one size doesn’t fit all – different things work for different people. Some people want to go away for a few days or even a week, whilst others want to be able to go to an evening class or social group with friends once a week. For some people, a break doesn’t mean going anywhere – it’s having the space and time at home to pursue their own interests and relax, and sometimes having equipment they need to do this, or a nicer environment at home. For others, they actually want to have a trip or day out with the person they care for but need extra help to do so.
However, breaks don’t just happen on their own. Carers often need high quality replacement care available which both the carer and the cared-for person trust. If not, the carer just isn’t able to take a break.
If you’re a carer, you can get involved in the “Give Carers a Break” campaign by:
Filling in a “Give Carers a Break” campaign postcard. Submit these postcards to your local Carers’ Centre or Crossroads Care scheme who are collecting these for carers so that they can present them en masse to the Primary Care Trust, local authority or MP.
Write to your MP, local councillors and PCT chief executives. Make sure that you include details on how this issue affects you and your family.
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