Carers Trust, the UK’s largest charity for unpaid carers, is today launching a £2 million project to help unpaid carers in London to access work, training and education.

Working for Carers will encourage local employers to adopt carer-friendly policies and to recognise the benefits of employing carers in their workforce.

The new programme will help some of the capital’s 689,000 unpaid carers to return to work or education whilst juggling care for a family member or friend who is sick or disabled. The three-year programme is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme. 

The programme will run in every borough of Greater London, and will help carers over the age of 25 to develop a personal plan for their future. Carers will have free access to one-to-one support, bespoke training, peer support and links to local employers.

A Carers Trust survey showed that 68% of unpaid carers in London were unemployed. Nearly 70% said the main barriers to finding and keeping employment were the pressure of their caring role and 75% said it was the need for part-time work.

Launching the programme today, Giles Meyer, interim CEO of Carers Trust, said:

“On a daily basis, unpaid carers face great challenges and the opportunity to find and hold down employment, to study or to train, are made even greater because of the need to break down the barriers they face.

“The Working for Carers programme will provide practical help and support for unpaid carers across London to fulfil their ambitions, but for the programme to be a success we need employers to join and support the project.”

Salma, who cared for her husband until unfortunately he died in November 2016, said:

“The Working for Carers project has helped me boost my confidence and morale.  My employment personal advisor is extremely helpful and has been assisting me with job searches and CV writing.  Since I have updated my CV with the help of my advisor, I have had more positive responses to my job search.”