More support for unpaid carers in Essex

Communities / Fri 5th Apr 2024 at 07:04am

ESSEX County Council has launched a new five-year offer for the estimated 124,000 unpaid carers in the county.

The new and enhanced offer provides information and support to unpaid carers in Essex. A key focal point of the new offer is a central online contact point for carers run by the Essex Wellbeing Service.

People can also call 0303 303 9988 to discuss their caring role and receive information, advice and guidance tailored to their needs.

If more specialist support is required, they will be referred to Action for Family Carers if they live in west or north Essex. If they live in mid or south Essex it will be Carers First.

Action for Family Carers and Carers First will:

help with practical solutions to address specific challenges
support emotional wellbeing
connect carers with others in their position for mutual support
Alongside this new offer, the council has allocated £1.75 million to support unpaid carers of all ages, through local projects.

Executive Director for Adult Social Care at Essex County Council, Nick Presmeg said: “Whether you identify as a carer or simply see yourself as helping a partner, parent or friend, we are committed to supporting you. Our new five year offer will make it easier for unpaid carers across the county to access support and guidance. It will also see more local projects and initiatives to support carers in their communities too.

“Unpaid carers make a real difference to not only the people they care for but to local communities and public services too. It is only right that we give them the support they need and deserve.”

The council has worked with partners and carers while developing the new offer. One of the carers who has been involved is Peter Blackman from South Woodham Ferrers.

Peter has been a carer for his wife for around 25 years. He explains why working with carers to develop the support available has been so important. He said: “It is really beneficial for carers to be involved in this kind of work. I feel that the council has listened to us and the ideas or concerns we have had have been heard.

“The new offer has taken into account what carers really want and need, it is now a much more personalised service. It has been a positive experience as I believe that by being involved it will help carers to get the best possible support for their own situation. We will be keeping a close eye on how this goes, monitoring performance and continuing to be critical friends.”

Peter added: “If you are looking after someone, there is help and support out there for you, you are not on your own.”

Susan, an unpaid carer from Tendring Village also gave her views and helped shape the new support offer.

Susan, who cares for her 91-year-old, mother-in-law Pam, said: “It is really important for the opinions of carers to be taken into account when developing any services that can support them. This makes sure carers get the right support when they need it most. It is also really important for carers of all ages and from all situations to be included, which I am pleased has happened.

“Without feedback, the council won’t know what needs improving or how to fix things that aren’t working, I think this two-way dialogue has really helped develop a service that we hope will make a difference. It’s also encouraging that the council will continue to engage with us so that any concerns or issues are listened to.”

Susan added: “It is really hard sometimes to identify yourself as a carer, I didn’t call myself a carer for many years. If you are caring for a family member or friend, there is support available, please don’t struggle in silence.”

A carer can be a child, young person or adult. They may be looking after a family member, partner or friend who would not be able to cope without their support. This could be due to illness, a long-term condition, frailty, a physical or leaning disability, mental health, trauma or addiction.

Find out more about the new offer and the support available for carers in Essex at www.essex.gov.uk/carers

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