Lesley has been involved with Carers Support since 2003 and on our Trustee Board for eight years.
As a qualified midwife she also has a post graduate diploma in management studies. Lesley’s career has been in the health and social care sector based mainly at Crawley Hospital.
When I last did my blog I said that, as a volunteer, I learnt something new every day. This has been very true recently when I listened to someone talking about the Social Value Act 2012. Boring you may think but how wrong you would be. The Act talks about improving the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the local area or, in simple terms, adding value. Does that not sound exactly like what our unpaid friends family carers are doing? I would like to share with you some astonishing facts.
It is estimated there are at least 84,000 unpaid Carers in West Sussex providing support to their loved ones. Because we are all getting older this number is expected to increase to 97,000 in the next seven years.
“The economic value of this unpaid care in the UK has been estimated to be worth £119 billion a year.”
Many of those looking after family and friends do not consider themselves to be carers but are just doing whatever they can to help. The economic value of this unpaid care in the UK has been estimated to be worth £119 billion a year. Equivalent to the whole of the NHS annual budget.
“By ignoring the fact that they are carers they are not availing themselves of help that is available.”
Those people who do not identify themselves as Carers we call hidden carers. They may not get the help they need early enough or until there is a crisis because they do not identify themselves with the word ‘Carer’. By ignoring the fact that they are carers they are not availing themselves of help that is available .
Carer Support West Sussex is a charity set up solely to support carers. Last year it received 6,486 calls on its Carer Response Line. They recorded 26,396 carer contacts , registered 2,828 new carers, received 1,688 hospital referrals, processed 993 applications to the wellbeing fund , responded to 274 referrals for telephone support and provided 1,446 hours of counselling to the 16,000 carers that they have registered.
So please, if you are looking after an elderly parent by doing their shopping or their washing . Or if you are doing simple nursing tasks for someone with a disability, or if you are supporting a child with learning difficulties, or you are living with someone with a mental health problem you are a carer. Please look us up either on our web site carerssupport.org.uk, Facebook facebook.com/CarersWSussex, Twitter @Carerswsussex or ring 0300 028 8888.