Birmingham charity calls on businesses to help carers

New scheme launched to provide support for unpaid carers.

With the number of carers in the UK rising, and pressures increasing, Forward Carers are calling for national support to make England Carer Friendly.

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic 4.5 million people have become carers across the UK. With the number of carers set to double by 2030, and the amount of hours dedicated to the caring role grow-ing, Carers are at increased risk of reaching crisis point.

Without significant emotional, practical, financial and workplace support, carers could reach breaking point, rupturing families and risking our health and social care system. Unpaid carers save the UK billions in health and social care costs – if care broke down on a widespread scale, the state wouldn’t be able to fund it.

Forward Carers, a West Midlands based social enterprise and CIC, has launched the Carer Friendly Communities scheme and the award-winning Carer Friendly Card (the UK’s first electronic Carer photo ID and dis-count card) with the aim of embedding support and improving wellbeing for people caring for elderly, frail, sick or disabled family members and friends.

The Carer Friendly Communities scheme provides guidance and support to organisations across the UK on how to become Carer Friendly. This includes making small, positive changes, that then allow unpaid carers to receive support such as flexible working hours from employers, specific and knowledgeable support from their GP, the opportunity to do the weekly shop during ‘inclusive hours’ or even getting a coffee at a dis-counted price or reduced entry at local attractions.

The Carer Friendly Card provides proof of carer status, and allows carers to access certain benefits offered by organisations, such as discounts. Feeling under-stood and valued in the community and at the workplace leads to healthier, happier Carers, employees and families.

Anjum Khan, who is a carer for her father commented “I know first-hand just how vital it is to have businesses and service providers on your side as a carer. Until you’re in that position, you will have no idea just how small changes from within a company can make such a huge difference to a carer.”

A Carer who has benefited from a Carer Friendly flexible hours policy at their place of work said, “Because of this flexibility, everything felt less stressful. It was still challenging trying to balance everything but be-cause we have good communication, it was a much more positive experience.”

For more information about Carer Friendly Communities visit Forward Carers.