Carers Trust Wales has launched its manifesto of priorities and asks for political parties in Wales in the run-up to the National Assembly for Wales election in May 2016.

There are over 370,000 carers in Wales - 12% of the population. We want Wales to be a country that protects, promotes and recognises the valuable contribution that all carers make. That’s why we’ve laid out what we believe are the key practical and achievable things political parties in Wales can do to make this a reality. The four themes below make up the core of our vision and manifesto, you can read the detail of what we’re asking for here.

Living, working, and learning in Wales

We’re asking for carers to have better access to education and employment, and better support when they are in education and employment. And important to both work and study, we’re asking for a better financial settlement for carers, including a campaign to encourage take-up of Carer’s Allowance.

Investing in Carers, Investing to Save

Short breaks and other kinds of support help make sure carers stay well and healthy, and are able to help those they care for stay well too. Despite this, we have seen services come under increasing and hitherto unseen financial pressure. We want to make sure that the services and support carers need locally are there when carers need them. That’s why we’re calling for the introduction of a Carer Well-being Fund to provide additional breaks for carers, coordinated by the third sector.

A Road Less Rocky – support for carers of people with dementia

The evidence is clear – carers of people with dementia are not given the information, support or access that they need. That’s why we’re calling for a coordinated, national approach to involving and empowering carers of people with dementia, both in and out of the hospital setting.

A better deal for young and young adult carers

Wales has the highest proportion of carers under 18 in the UK. Young and young adult carers are under identified with limited access to services and support. That’s why we’re calling for a step-change in how schools, colleges and universities identify and work with young and young adult carers, ensuring that carers in education are identified and that support mechanisms are in place to help them to stay and succeed in education.

In our manifesto, we have focused on asks, suggestions and recommendations that would not only have a powerful impact on the lives of all carers in Wales, but that are practical and implementable. In the coming year we will be asking carers across Wales to make their voices heard through our “I’m a carer” campaign. This campaign, and this manifesto, is our effort to show that carers are not just one distinct group or just one type of person, but that carers are people with lives, jobs, responsibilities, dreams and ambitions just like everyone else. Our effort to secure real, positive change for carers in Wales.