Welsh charity calls for raising support for growing unpaid carer population

Carers Wales talked at the Senedd last week, submitting petitions and conducting online support sessions for thousands of unpaid carers in Wales.  

There are over 300,000 unpaid carers in Wales, and more than half feel depressed.
Image credits: Georg Arthur on Unsplash

More needs to be done to support Wales’s growing army of unpaid carers, according to a national charity organisation. 

The claim came at the end of Carers Rights Day that aims to highlight the struggles of unpaid carers in Wales. 

“In Wales, there are 311,000 people who provide unpaid care to family members who need support due to age, illness or disability. They face significant challenges regarding their health, finances and ability to balance employment along with their caring responsibilities,” said Jake Smith, Policy Officer of Carers Wales.

And for many of these people, the impact extends beyond financial concerns, affecting their mental and physical well-being.

“According to our latest survey, canvassing over 1,000 carers, we found that 52% of carers experienced physical health deterioration, with 23% sustaining injuries due to caring duties. Unpaid carers often face a higher prevalence of long-term health conditions, with depression and anxiety being the most prominent issues,” said Jake.

They took their campaign to the Senedd (the Welsh Government), asking for policy changes to do more to support unpaid carers. 

Jake Smith and Rob Simkins, Policy Affairs officers at Carers Wales, with their list of demands at the Senedd.
Image credits: Carers Wales

Submitting a letter of demands to the First Minister of Wales, the organisation has put forward steps to be taken towards supporting carers across Wales.

These suggestions include continuing £500 annual support for carers on Carers Allowance and allocating £1 million to aid carers during hospital stays.

More than a third of unpaid carers are struggling to make ends meet, while 41% of unpaid carers have given up work to provide unpaid care. 

After COVID-19, the responsibilities of unpaid carers have increased considerably and there are more unpaid carers than ever before, according to the latest report by Public Health Wales. 

In the lead-up to Carers Rights Day on Thursday, the organisation conducted various events to provide support for carers.

Fliers and charters were distributed across Wales ahead of Carers Rights Day.
Image credits: Carers Wales

Information stalls were set up in Ty Hywel, Vale Carers Assembly and across Wales, providing crucial resources and support to those in need. 

This was part of a week of activity that also saw online support sessions to highlight carers’ rights in Wales and how to care for yourself while caring for a loved one. 

For more information or help, go to carerswales.org.