Pot for unpaid carers scheme increased to £5m

13 Jun 19

An additional £4.5m in government funding has been confirmed for a scheme that aims to improve the wellbeing of unpaid carers.

Charities, small businesses and other community organisations have been encouraged to bid for funding under the Carers Innovation Fund, which seeks to support carers through a range of innovative projects.  

The size of the fund, which was first announced in last year’s Carers Action Plan, was initially set at £0.5m, but has been increased by ministers to £5m for its launch this week.

Examples of the kind of projects that will be considered for funding are support groups such as Men’s Sheds, who help to tackle isolation, and technology platforms, which allow carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities.

Minister for care Caroline Dinenage said the fund would help build an understanding of the different kinds of support that worked for carers and offer a boost to projects across the country.

“Informal care is a fundamental part of our health and care system, which would not be sustainable without the incredible contribution of carers across the country,” she said.

“But we cannot take them for granted and must do more to protect their wellbeing and ensure they can enjoy full lives.”

“From cafes that bring carers together, to innovative forms of technology that help carers enjoy time off, I want to see a range of exciting projects boosted and their benefits unlocked.”

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said there had never been a more important time to develop and accelerate new ways to support unpaid carers.

“Many more of us are taking on unpaid caring responsibilities for family and friends, often alongside paid work or raising children,” she said.

“We are also seeing the amount and complexity of care increasing.

“As we live and work longer, with technology transforming so many aspects of our lives, it’s time to innovate to support the way families are living today.”

Around 6.5m people in the UK - or one in eight adults - are estimated to be carers, but that figure is expected to rise to 9m in the next twenty years.

Last year, councils were told that better and more consistent data was needed to support calls for improved carer funding after a survey found that almost half of authorities were unable to say how many unpaid carers lived in their area.

The NHS is also working to better identify and support carers across England as part of its Ten Year Plan.

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