The publication of the Unpaid carers delivery plan annual report sets out the progress made against the delivery plan’s objectives by Welsh Government, local authorities, local health boards and the third sector.
This overview document highlights Welsh Government’s key achievements from this past calendar year including:
- the short breaks fund
- the £500 unpaid carers support payment
- the Carers Support Fund
- the £1m supporting unpaid carers with hospital discharge
- the young carers ID card project
- the charter for unpaid carers
Since January 2022, £42m has been announced to support unpaid carers. This figure includes £29million allocated to provide unpaid carers in receipt of Carers Allowance with a £500 payment in 2022; £4.5million was announced for the next three years to continue the Carers Support Fund until 2025. £9million was also announced to establish the short breaks fund over the next three years, with activity commencing from April 2022.
Short Breaks Fund
In April 2022 we announced £9m over three years is being invested to establish an innovative short breaks scheme for unpaid carers on low incomes who are struggling to cope with their caring responsibilities. The scheme will increase opportunities for unpaid carers to take a break from their caring role and have a life alongside caring.
Carers Trust Wales has been appointed as the national coordinating body to establish and oversee the scheme and is working collaboratively with Regional Partnership Boards, local authorities and the third sector across Wales to encourage innovation and promote good practice.
A third sector grant scheme, Amser, was launched in January 2023, which is focussed on delivering a range of short break opportunities for unpaid carers from all communities across Wales.
£500 unpaid carers support payment
In March 2022 we announced £29m to provide a £500 support payment to unpaid carers in receipt of carer’s allowance on 31 March 2022. Eligible carers were able to register with their local authority during two registration periods between March and September. The payment scheme was also promoted with an extensive publicity campaign.
Carers Support Fund
Our innovative carers support grant started in 2020 and up to end of March 2022 had been funded with £2.75m, with a further £4.5m over three years commencing from April 2022.
Unpaid carers are able to access small grants and access to ongoing support. The fund is administered by Carers Trust Wales. Since its launch in 2020 this fund has helped over 10,000 carers on low incomes to buy basic essential items. The fund has also helped to identify a substantial number of carers who were previously unknown to services. In some areas 70% of applicants were previously unknown carers.
Supporting unpaid carers with hospital discharge
The funding criteria for £1million allocated across the 7 local health boards changed in 2022 to focus primarily on supporting unpaid carers when the person they care for is admitted to or discharged from hospital. This funding built upon previous years support to the national carers’ priorities. During the pandemic the health boards used flexibility within the funding criteria to support a range of projects for all ages of unpaid carers, including young carers. Officials are reviewing the mid-year reports and already some good examples are emerging of how unpaid carers are being supported at these important moments. The same amount is being provided in the 2023 to 2024 financial year.
Young carers ID card
The roll out of the national young carers ID card across all 22 local authority areas by April 2022 followed 3 years of Welsh Government funding worth nearly £600,000 in total. The Welsh Government, working in co-production with local authorities and Carers Trust Wales, successfully established this new and innovative tool so that young carers would receive recognition and support from teachers, health workers, GPs and pharmacists. At the end of 2022, just over 1780 young carers have been given a card which will help them access their rights, including a carers’ needs assessment.
Charter for unpaid carers
Published in September 2022 the charter for unpaid carers was coproduced with key stakeholders and sets out the rights of unpaid carers under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Drawing on the expertise of professionals and unpaid carers, we created a simple and practical guide to support carers to understand and access their rights. The charter is also intended to help professionals to gain a better understanding of what is expected of them under the 2014 Act. In 2023 we plan to further establish the document across unpaid carers’ services in Wales.