Carers Trust’s 2022 Impact Exchange Survey results

Each year Carers Trust surveys its network of over 120 carer organisations to establish the reach of its services, if carers are being reached equitably and what kind of services are being offered to them.

The survey also identifies both the challenges and opportunities encountered by local charities delivering services to unpaid carers and their financial sustainability.

The survey therefore provides an invaluable annual snapshot of the state of support services for the UK’s unpaid family carers.

Read the full report on the 2022 Impact Exchange Survey findings

Summary of survey findings

All Carers Trust Network Partners responded to the 2022 Impact Exchange survey. In response to a question about challenges, the two issues most commonly cited by Network Partners were:

  • Fundraising and sustainability (48% of respondents cited this, up from 40% in 2020-21). Reasoning for this varied, but a common theme was that contract funding from local authorities to deliver support to unpaid carers was failing to keep up with increasing demand for those services, leading to inadequate support and services for unpaid carers.
  • Staff recruitment and retention (40% of respondents cited this as a challenge, almost double the 23% that saw it as an issue in 2020-21). The challenge of recruiting staff has led to diminishing capacity to respond to, and address, carers’ needs and problems. This is particularly challenging at a time when demand from carers for services is increasing.

Other survey findings

  • 917,394 unpaid carers were registered with Carers Trust Network Partners in 2021-22, a 7% increase on the previous year.
  • 456,089 unpaid carers were supported by Carers Trust Network Partners in 2021-22, a 6% increase on the previous year.
  • 78% of all UK local authority areas were reached through local authority or health contracts in 2021-22.
  • 4,026 staff were employed across the Carers Trust Network in 2021-22, a 9% decrease over the figure from 2020-21.
  • 3,750 volunteers were working across the Network in 2021-22, a 15% decrease over the figure from 2020-21.

Soaring inflation and cost-of-living crisis – risk of perfect storm for carer organisations and millions of unpaid carers

The Carers Trust survey of its network also indicated that the double-whammy of funding and recruitment challenges was being exacerbated by soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. This had the potential to develop into a perfect storm for local carer organisations. That’s because their struggle to cope with rocketing demand for support came at the very same time that these organisations were also experiencing a reduction in their capacity to respond due to growing recruitment and funding challenges.  

Carers Trust Network Partners responding to the survey cited the following problems as those most commonly affecting unpaid carers they were supporting. These same problems are driving increased demand from unpaid carers for support:

  • Not being able to get a break from the pressures of unpaid caring (88% of Network Partners cited this as a concern for unpaid carers).
  • Worsening mental health (87%)
  • Isolation (83%)
  • Financial hardship (82%)

One Network Partner responding to the survey summed up what we heard from others when they said: 

“More carers with no more funding means we have to dilute what is available to support them. This is particularly upsetting for carers given the two years they have just had to live through.”