The Carers Trust defines a carer as someone who 'cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support'.
Despite each carer being completely unique in their circumstances, there are some basic needs that many carers have in common. This includes, but is not limited to: the need for a break from their caring role; the need for peace of mind; social support; emotional support and financial support.
Early intervention is crucial in order to delay and prevent carers' needs from escalating, and we want to empower carers in Bury to self care by accessing more community support. We also want to embed the 'wellbeing principle' into the heart of the community with the intention being that more carers can be identified and supported effectively. Early intervention, prevention and wellbeing are significant components of the Care Act 2014.
The Care Act also simplifies, consolidates and improves existing legislation, placing carers on an equal legal footing to those they care for. The Act gives local authorities a responsibility to assess a carer's needs for support, where the carer appears to have such needs. This assessment will consider the impact of caring on the carer. It will also consider the things that the carer wants to achieve in their own day-to-day life and important issues, such as whether the carer is able or willing to carry on caring. An asset based approach is utilised in Bury where carers are encouraged to access community facilities and support as much as possible.
The 2011 census tells us that the number of people who state they provide unpaid care in Bury is 19,954 (11% of our population at the time of the census). This is an increase of 723 individuals in the last 10 years. On a national level, Carers Trust states that there are around seven million carers in the UK. This equates to approximately one in ten people, which illustrates that the numbers in Bury are comparable with the national average.
The number of unpaid carers is increasing steadily throughout the UK. In Bury alone we currently know of over 3000 adult carers, but we acknowledge that there are many more who do not receive any support to undertake their caring role. This demonstrates that a lot more work needs to be done to identify and support carers in the community before they reach crisis point. Carers UK estimate that unpaid carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer.
Bury Council would like to work in partnership to achieve 4 key areas that align with the National Carers Strategy. This collaborative approach has already commenced on the Bury Carers Strategy Group which is made up of a range of agencies including, but not limited to, health, social care and employment colleagues along with carer representatives. The Bury Health and Wellbeing Board have taken a similar approach as they too work in partnership to achieve 5 priorities, including improved health and wellbeing of carers.
Although this information relates mainly to adult carers, the Department for Communities and Wellbeing fully supports young carers transitioning into adulthood. We are also working on a Memorandum of Understanding for young carers and their families at present.
For more information and analysis on Carers, please visit Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.