100,000 carers working for free in Staffordshire

Nearly 100,000 people in Staffordshire are providing free care to someone with an illness or disability, figures have revealed.

100,000 carers working for free in Staffordshire

Some 98,832 of residents in Staffordshire offer some form of free care, with over a third of these giving 20 or more hours of care a week.

This means that nearly 800,000 hours of caring is being undertaken each week by friends or family.

And the county council has vowed to encourage businesses to support their staff if they are caring for someone in their own time.

Nationally, a total of 5.8 million people are providing free care to family members or friends.

Care UK has calculated that the contribution made by carers is worth around £18,473 per person.

In Staffordshire, it is estimated at £1.825 billion a year.

Staffordshire is involved in the government's 'Carers and Employment Programme,' a scheme that sees the county council working with local employers and carers to ensure they get the support they need while in work.

This could include flexible working hours, improving the workplace support provided to carers, looking after the health and wellbeing of carers and ensuring they have a life of their own alongside their caring responsibilities.

Care boss Councillor Alan White said: "Every day, thousands of people in Staffordshire provide unpaid care by looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner. These carers do an amazing job, but having such a huge responsibility can take its toll. It's essential that they are given the right support that will help them in their caring role.

"Carers have been, and will continue to be, at the heart of shaping the support they receive. Through our work to date, our conversations with carers and the organisations that support them, we know that support needs to be closer to where people live and delivered in a way that helps carers to be more independent.

"By working together with carers' associations, CCGs and other key organisations who fund and offer support to carers, making information and advice readily available and assessing the needs of carers earlier and in a more comprehensive way, we can ensure we have a system that puts Staffordshire's growing number of carers at the heart of services.''

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