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Carers Trust marks 70th birthday of Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal with launch of new fund for exhausted unpaid carers

Carers Trust President, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, has launched a special new fund which aims to provide small grants to approximately 30,000 exhausted unpaid carers so they can take a much-needed break from the constant demands of their caring role.

The Princess Royal Respite Fund for Carers has been created to secure long-term funding for Carers Trust’s respite services. It aims to raise £3 million over the next three years from a range of donors, including trusts and foundations, major donors, corporate supporters and members of the public.

The fund is named after Carers Trust’s President, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, to mark the 70th birthday of Her Royal Highness in 2020. It was launched yesterday during a special invitation-only online ceremony.

Why is this new fund needed?

An ageing UK population has led to a steep increase in demand for social care in the community. This increase in demand, however, has not been matched by adequate investment in social care, leading to the withdrawal of many essential services for both carers and those they care for. As a result, the amount of time unpaid family carers are having to spend on providing essential care to family members and friends has increased steeply.

Even before Coronavirus, two thirds of carers were caring 50 hours or more per week. Lockdown meant they had to spend even more time caring. Unsurprisingly, many unpaid carers are exhausted. They talk of being ‘burnt out’ and ‘at breaking point’ due to the constant need to provide round-the-clock-care.

So the need for properly funded respite support for carers has never been more urgent. These respite breaks are not holidays - they are a basic necessity, helping unpaid carers recharge and re-energise so they can continue their caring role.

But all too often, it’s impossible for unpaid carers to find, or pay for, replacement care so they can take that break – even if it’s for just a few hours.

How will the new fund work to support exhausted unpaid carers?

The Respite Fund For Carers means Carers Trust will be able to significantly increase the number of grants it makes to carers via the Carers Trust’s Network of over 120 local partner services. These grants will have a huge impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of many more carers, giving them  some-much needed time to themselves to re-charge before carrying on providing essential care for their family members and friends.

Welcoming the launch of The Respite Fund, Chair of Carers Trust Board of Trustees, John McLean OBE, said:

“As most of us begin to emerge from months of lockdown, many unpaid carers will be staying at home to continue providing round-the-clock care for a loved one without the prospect of even the smallest break. They need our support right now, and that is why Carers Trust is launching the Respite Fund – so we can support more carers to have time to themselves and the breaks they both need, and deserve. On behalf of my fellow colleagues and trustees, I would like to thank Her Royal Highness for her unstinting support which has made the Respite Fund possible.”

Martin McMillan OBE appointed to chair the Appeal Board

Reflecting the importance of fundraising for the new Respite Fund for Carers, Carers Trust has created a pivotal new role to lead all fundraising. And we are delighted to announce that Martin McMillan has been appointed Chair of the Appeal Board.

Martin brings a wealth of experience to the role, having served in leadership positions across the charity sector for 35 years, including: Chair of the North West Full Stop Appeal for the NSPCC; Deputy Chair of the Halle Orchestra; and Chair of the National Garden Scheme, a longstanding corporate donor to Carers Trust. It was through his work with the National Garden Scheme that Martin became aware of the huge demands being placed on unpaid family carers and the importance of providing them with funded respite breaks and services. Martin was awarded the OBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to charity.

Looking forward to leading work on The Princess Royal Respite Fund for Carers, Martin said:

“You only have to listen to a few unpaid family carers to grasp just how physically and mentally demanding it is to provide round-the-clock care for a loved one. Many have had to sacrifice a job and career to do so, and there is little or no financial reward in return.

What’s more, the sacrifices they make every day are taking pressure off our over-stretched health and social care services. It’s no exaggeration to say these unsung heroes are the glue holding society together. So we must do all we can to support them and help them continue in their caring role.

I can think of no better way to do that than by donating to this fund. All the money raised will be used to ensure unpaid carers get what they say they need most – a break, time to themselves when they can collect their thoughts and re-energise themselves. I urge everyone to do what they can to support this fund. It will make a greater difference for these unsung heroes than we can ever know.”


Please visit the Carers Trust website for further information on The Princess Royal Respite Fund For Carers.

For further information, and to arrange interviews, please contact: Matt Whitticase on mwhitticase@carers.org and 07824 539481.

Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.  www.carers.org 

We do this with a UK wide network of quality assured independent partners and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives. With locally based Network Partners we are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks. We offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individual tailored support and group activities.

Our vision is that unpaid carers count and can access the help they need to live their lives.

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Coronavirus / Health / Our funders / Social care / UK


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