Wiltshire Council and NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working with partners in health, social care and the voluntary sector to support the thousands of Wiltshire carers who look after vulnerable loved ones.
In the last census more than 47,000 people in Wiltshire said they provided unpaid care – that’s about 10% of the population. One in five of those devote more than 50 hours every week to caring. Research suggests that there are many more who do not identify themselves as carers formally, particularly young carers and those who care for people with needs relating to mental health or substance misuse.
This week is Carers Week (11-17 June) with individuals and groups across the country organising events to raise awareness of the vital role that carers play.
Wiltshire Carers’ Action Group (WCAG) has recently launched a five-year strategy to make sure that carers get the support they need when they need it. The joint Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire CCG strategy was co-produced with WCAG members including the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Support, Healthwatch Wiltshire, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council, Spurgeons Young Carers, Wiltshire Citizen Advice and Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living, Wiltshire People 1st and Wiltshire carers.
The strategy aims to ensure that: ‘Carers are identified and accepted as expert partners in care; are well informed; and maintain a good quality of life and healthy lifestyle outside of their caring responsibility.’
There is a detailed implementation plan to deliver the following outcomes:
- Carers have improved physical health, mental health and wellbeing
- Carers are empowered to make choices about their caring role and to access appropriate support and services for themselves and the people they care for
- Carers have the best financial situation possible, and are less worried about money
- Carers’ needs, and the value of carers, are better understood in Wiltshire
- Carers influence services
If you are a carer and would like to be involved in how the strategy is implemented you can contact the Carer Engagement Manager at Carer Support Wiltshire on 0800 181 4118 or email email@example.com. Carer Support Wiltshire chairs the Wiltshire Carer Involvement Group and coordinates carer involvement in the development of a range of services which support carers and those they care for. Carer Support Wiltshire also runs groups across the county facilitated by Community Connectors who will help to implement the strategy at a local level.
Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection, said: “One of the most important duties we have is to protect vulnerable people in the community. Without the devotion of carers in the county that task would be incredibly difficult and costly, and place enormous strain on the resources of the council and the health service.
“Our carers do so much for the community, and it is right that the community helps them in return.”
Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Everybody who works in health and social care understands the vital contribution that unpaid carers make. Looking after a person that you care about is something that many of us want to do, however, we need access to timely advice and support. Our new strategy builds on the great support that is available across Wiltshire, so that carers have the help they need when they want it.”
For more information about Carers Week please visit www.carersweek.org and https://carersupportwiltshire.co.uk/2018/05/11/celebrate-carers-week-with-csw/