We know that at least one in ten people in Greater Manchester is an unpaid carer, though it is likely there are a lot more – many people may not even realise they are a carer despite the time and energy they are giving.
It is crucial that we identify carers, so we can make sure they receive our support. Carers play an invaluable role, not only for the people they look after but also in the way we plan and deliver care across the city-region.
I’m proud of the improvements we’ve already made for carers, especially the signing of the Greater Manchester Carers Charter and Commitment last year – which was created alongside carers and is supported by voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, councils and NHS organisations.
Since then we’ve seen the development of the Greater Manchester Working Carers Toolkit which is aiming to support the 120,000 working carers in the city-region and has been adopted by all the organisations that make up the Partnership.
And we’ve introduced the Exemplar Model for Carer Support in Greater Manchester to make sure that support for carers is consistent no matter where somebody lives.
However, we know more needs to be done, and through the Greater Manchester Carers Summit which took place in May, we are now putting in place actions to improve the support for carers even further.
The theme of Carers Week 2019 is ‘Getting Carers Connected’. We want to help reduce the social isolation too many carers experience and help them build networks of support – so they can find the right services, advice and information.
Almost a quarter of carers in Greater Manchester give at least 50 hours a week to their responsibilities and a third of carers have felt lonely or isolated, as they’re uncomfortable talking about their role – even with friends. A further third of carers have said they often feel isolated at work because of the demands placed on them.
We’re connecting carers together in a variety of ways:
- By bringing people together with shared experiences of caring for those with long-term conditions, like motor neurone disease or dementia.
- Through carers support services, that are run in all of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs.
- And by offering local employers advice and guidance – so that working carers have the freedom and confidence to support each other.
We are excited to be part of Carers Week and look forward to seeing what is happening across Greater Manchester to celebrate carers. If you’re planning an event or want to see if there is one near you, find out how to get involved on the Carers Week website.