Caring is often a round-the-clock role, yet carers very rarely get a break. Whilst the majority of us have regular breaks during a working day, and may have taken annual leave over the summer period, 30% of carers don’t take a break at all, and 68% of carers won’t have had a holiday at all this year.
That’s why Carers Trust Wales have launched a campaign calling on the Welsh Government to introduce a Carer Well-being Fund, which would ring-fence funding to provide more breaks for carers across Wales. A break can involve having a careworker visit the house, even just for one hour, to give the carer a chance to rest or get out of the house to run some errands. One small break during the week can be the difference between health and a breakdown.
Jeni is a single parent and carer for her teenage son who has autism and epilepsy.
‘Each day is different and comes with a variety of challenges; physically, mentally and emotionally. Being able to take time out; be it a few hours at the gym or a weekend off is vital for my own health, well-being and vitality.
‘I am fortunate to have a break every other weekend and one week a year; when my son is with his Dad. This time alone is essential to maintain my energy levels.’
Kieron Rees, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, said ‘£1.4million is a small amount given the size of the Welsh Government budget, plus the fact that carers in Wales save the economy £8.1bn in care every year. It would provide 53,000 hours’ worth of breaks for carers across Wales.
‘This will help to prevent carers breaking down and becoming unable to provide care due to a lack of breaks, which in turn will reduce pressure on social services and hospitals. It’s a simple and effective way to make a huge difference to the lives of carers and those they care for.’
Carers Trust Wales are encouraging people to join the campaign by emailing their Assembly Members asking them to champion the Carer Well-being Fund in the National Assembly for Wales.
Join the campaign: email your local Assembly Members here.