The State of Caring conference at the BioPark, Welwyn Garden City, was organised by Carers in Hertfordshire during Carers Week to address what more can be done locally to support unpaid family and friend carers.
Carers and carer representatives talked about the impact caring can have on them financially, physically and emotionally. One carer who was quoted in the survey said: “I always worry whether the money will be there to pay the rent, gas, water and electricity at the end of the month.”
After listening to carers’ experiences councillors and healthcare professionals who play key roles in shaping provision for carers in the county pledged their support.
- Iain MacBeath, Hertfordshire County Council’s Director of Health and Community Services who vowed to improve every carer’s satisfaction rating
- Sue Darker, Assistant Director, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health, pledged to connect to the Carers in Hertfordshire new carer support hubs to co-ordinate links
- Earl Dutton, Assistant Director, Older People and Physical Disability, vowed to take up the request for a carer's assessment with the appropriate team.
We also renewed our pledge to lobby hard for carers’ rights to be included in the Government’s manifesto for the next General Election. And following on from this national survey, members of the Hertfordshire Carers Organisations Network are joining forces to conduct a similar survey across the county.
Carers Involvement Manager Roma Mills said: “This event provided an excellent opportunity for the people in charge of commissioning and providing health and social care services to hear direct from family carers about how best to support them.”
The conference highlighted the findings of a national survey into caring by Carers UK which revealed 54% of carers struggle to pay household bills or to make ends meet and 82% feel stressed because of their caring role.
According to the latest figures, there are 6.5m carers in the UK, and around 109,000 in Hertfordshire. Around half are juggling work and caring with other family responsibilities, with 62% citing stress as the main reason they had to give up work.
Photo shows delegates, including carers, carer representatives, healthcare professionals and councillors at this year's State of Caring event.