Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
On this day, every year, we mark Carers Rights Day and our commitment to ensure unpaid carers receive the recognition and support they deserve. Unpaid carers play a vital role in caring for family members, neighbours and others in our communities who need additional care and support.
Unpaid carers are dedicated to supporting those they love and care for – ensuring they, in turn, can access the support they need, at the right time, helps to support their wellbeing and balances the daily demands on their lives.
The cost-of-living crisis has had a significant impact on unpaid carers, whose ability to work outside the home is often restricted. Carers’ Allowance is set by the UK Government; I continue to raise my concerns about the level this is set at and the rules around it.
The Welsh Government has provided £2.75m for the Carers Support Fund for 2022-24, which has enabled 24,000 unpaid carers, so far, to access a small grant or financial information and advice.
Local authorities and health boards are working with us to alleviate pressures on social care and health services which can be a barrier to unpaid carers accessing support when they need it. We have provided £1m of additional funding this year to health boards to ensure unpaid carers receive information and guidance when the person they care for is admitted to or discharged from hospital. This is a critical time to ensure unpaid carers have the support they need.
Helping people to recognise they are an unpaid carer is an important first step to find out about rights, entitlements and support they can access. Equally, health and social care professionals must be fully aware of carers needs and rights. We have continued to fund Carers Wales and Carers Trust Wales to provide resources and training for professionals.
Our Charter for Unpaid Carers outlines carers’ rights under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Unpaid carers have the right to have their own needs assessed..
One of our key priorities is for unpaid carers to have increased opportunities to take care of their health and well-being. We are providing additional funding to support this, and for unpaid carers to be able to take a break from their caring role. We have invested £6m since 2022 into the short break fund to enable an additional 30,000 carers to take a break to relax, socialise or pursue activities tailored to their interests.
I was pleased we were able to support the second young carers festival in August 2023. We are working with local authorities to ensure young carers are recognised in education and that the national ID card scheme for young carers is consistently used across Wales. We continue to look at ways in which we can best ensure the rights of young carers are recognised and respected.