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Madeleine Starr, Carers UK’s Head of Innovation, has been awarded an MBE for services to employment in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list.

Since 1999, Madeleine has led Carers UK work on carers and employment and was instrumental in securing major changes to law, policy and workplace practice for the 3 million people who juggle work with caring for ill, frail or disabled friends or family members.

Madeleine was instrumental to Carers UK’s work on the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act (2004), making employment a central part of local authority carer’s assessments; and the Work and Families Act (2006) which extended the right to ask for flexible working to carers.

Madeleine founded business forum Employers for Carers with Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT plc, and a small group of forward-thinking employers. The network has now grown to over 50, including Sainsbury’s, British Gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers, London
Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police and is at the cutting edge of employment policy.

Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT and Chair of Employers for Carers, said: "Madeleine's work at Carers UK has been central not just in raising employers' awareness of carers' needs as they strive to combine work and care, but also in making the hard business case for carer-friendly workplaces. Her passion and vision have driven the success of Employers for Carers and have been absolutely critical in establishing caring as a major issue on the agenda of employers, business and policy makers."

Don Brereton CB, Chair of Carers UK said: “When Madeleine started in this field carers’ needs and rights were nowhere to be seen on the employment landscape. She has transformed this, building a strong research and policy base, international partnerships and successfully winning European funding to get this work off the ground.”

Following a career in education and publishing, Madeleine joined Carers UK in 1999 to lead the first ever work on carers and employment on a project funded by the European Social Fund. Madeleine describes the work as her passion.

Madeleine Starr MBE, said: “With an ageing population and more of us having to work and care longer, caring is a challenge not just for families but all of society, business and the economy.

Most of us will care at some point and we should be able to normalise caring into everyday life, particularly employment. Carers often desperately want to stay in work and employers can’t afford to lose talented and knowledgeable staff. Yet one in five people gives up work to care, often leading to a terrible impact on their income, social networks, pensions and wellbeing.

Honours are never given to individuals, but always to the people and networks they work with who make change possible. I am incredibly proud of what families, businesses and Carers UK have achieved together in transforming attitudes, policy and practice around caring and
employment.”

Carers UK today expressed concern at new evidence that care charges were continuing to rise whilst the incomes of many older people and their families needing care were falling placing increasing pressure on families that are already struggling.

Heléna Herklots from Age UK to join the charity at “crucial time” 

Carers UK is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Heléna Herklots, who is currently the Services Director for Age UK.

This afternoon, Government confirmed in the House of Lords that the eligibility for Carer’s Allowance, the main carer’s benefit, would not be tightened with the introduction of the new disability benefit, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). 

In a response to questions from Peers and a direct question from Baroness Hollis, Lord Freud, Minister of State for Work and Pensions, stated that both rates of the daily living component of the new Personal Independence Payment would be used as a criterion to determine the entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.

The clarification from the Minister came after Peers from all sides of the House raised their concerns that the Welfare Reform Bill left the future of Carer’s Allowance unclear. The Minister made a commitment to make a statement at the start of Report stage of the Bill.

The Welfare Reform Bill will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new benefit the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Several elements of the benefit will change and the number of care components will fall from three in DLA to two daily living components in PIP.

Entitlement to Carer’s Allowance is currently established through a disabled person getting the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance and there was a real concern that reducing the number of care components from three to 2 in the new disability benefit would squeeze out many carers.

Although it is worth only £55.55 per week and is the lowest benefit of its kind, Carer’s Allowance is vital income for around 550,000 people who care, unpaid, for family or close friends and who cannot work full time. To be eligible, carers also have to be providing at least 35 hours of care per week and earning less than £100 after deductions.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK said, “We are pleased that Government has provided this clarification to carers worried about losing their entitlement to Carer’s Allowance in the future when the new Personal Independence Payment is introduced. Our advice line has been inundated with calls from families worried about how they will be affected and we have been unable to provide them with a clear response. Although there are still many elements to be decided about disability benefits including how the £2 billion worth of cuts will impact on disabled people and their families, this is a vital decision for carers announced today.  

She added, “The support provided by family and friends, unpaid to disabled, ill and elderly relatives is vital.  It is worth a staggering £119 billion to the state – more than the NHS.  Without their care, our society would collapse". 

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors:

1. Carers UK is a charity set up to support the millions of people who care for an elderly relative, a sick friend or a disabled family member. Carers UK:

• supports carers and provides information and advice about caring
• influences policy through our research based on carers’ real life experiences
• campaigns to make life better for carers.

 The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson today added his support to Carers UK’s national Carers Rights Day, urging those caring for ill or disabled loved ones to access the support they are entitled to.  

There are almost 680,000 carers in London alone, who save the UK economy a staggering £12 billion per year with the unpaid care they provide to elderly and disabled friends and family. However new research by Carers UK has shown that, without the right support, caring can lead to financial hardship, debt and ill-health. 

With estimates published by Carers UK last year showing that £840 million in Carer’s Allowance goes unclaimed every year, the Mayor has joined Carers UK in urging carers to ensure they are getting all the support they can. 

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Every day of the year carers in the capital and across the country do an extraordinary job, providing support to relatives and friends. Unpaid, often unheralded, theirs is an invaluable role. Carers Rights Day is about getting behind these unsung heroes and giving them the support they need." 

On Carers Rights Day over 700 events are being held across the country, 50 in the capital, to guide carers to help and advice on getting vital financial and practical support.  

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK said: “Without support, caring can take a huge toll on carers’ health and finances. It is crucial that we all work to identify colleagues, friends and family who have caring responsibilities and make sure they are getting all the support they can.” 

ENDS

 

New information resources for staff juggling work and care

Carers UK and Sainsbury’s have joined forces on national Carers Rights Day 2011 (Friday 2nd December) to help support the UK’s 6.4 million people in the UK who care for ill or disabled loved ones.

Sainsbury’s has sponsored 50,000 copies of Carers UK’s essential advice guides to support 700 local Carers Rights Day events going on across the UK. Sainsbury’s is also distributing the new resource to its colleagues who are carers to ensure they get essential information on juggling work and care.

One in eight of the UK workforce combine work with caring for ill or disabled loved-ones . Without advice, information and support in the workplace, juggling work and care can lead to staff stress and absence, contributing to the 1 million people who have given up work or reduced working hours work to care .

As part of business forum Employers for Carers, run by Carers UK, Sainsbury’s are working with other employers, including BT, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Metropolitan Police, to lead the way in providing carer-friendly workplaces.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK said: “Most of us will provide care at some point in our lives to ill or disabled loved ones. Yet when caring affects your family, it is often hard to get help and advice, and without support, caring can take a serious toll on carers’ health, finances and wellbeing. It is crucial for workplaces to adapt to an increasing number of families juggling work and care, and that is why we are delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s to support their colleagues with caring responsibilities.”

Jacki Connor, Director of Colleague Engagement at Sainsbury’s, said:“Sainsbury’s is very proud of its support for Carers UK as we know this is an important issue for our colleagues and customers. One person in eight has caring responsibilities which means nearly 20,000 of our colleagues look after a friend or loved one. We are committed to ensuring that these colleagues get all of the support they need, be that through providing flexible working or giving them the ability to take time off at short notice. We hope other businesses follow our lead and take steps to ensure that carers are supported in the workplace.” 

To launch Carers Rights Day, Sainbury’s is also hosting a reception at its London Store Support Centre on Thursday 1st December – bringing together employers, local support groups and carers.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

1. Carers Rights Day is run by Carers UK each year to speak up for, inform and support the UK’s 6.4 million carers. Carers Rights Day 2011, on 2nd of December is focussing on getting carers vital financial support with caring.
2. A new Carers UK research report The Cost of Caring, released to coincide with Carers Rights Day and based on a survey of over 4,200 carers across the UK showed:

  • Almost half of carers (47%) were cutting back on essentials like food and heating to make ends meet.
  • 47% were being made ill by money worries.
  • 31% were living on their overdraft and 45% were in debt as a result of caring.

The full report can be found at http://carersuk.org/professionals/resources/research-library/item/2395-the-cost-of-caring

Employers for Carers
Carers UK worked with top employers to establish and now administer Employers for Carers, a forum of employers including BT, Centrica the Metropolitan Police and the NHS, committed to ensuring that employers have the support to retain employees with caring responsibilities. Employers interested in joining can visit www.employersforcarers.org for additional information along with resources and support for employers and working carers.

 

Carers are facing bleak choices as they struggle to care for their sick and disabled relatives, with nearly half of those surveyed saying money worries were affecting their health.

Carers UK today welcomed Government’s new moves to ensure that the funding for carers breaks is spent by Primary Care Trusts.

The document, published today, sets out the targets and goals for Primary Care Trusts for the coming financial year (2012/13).  Over the past three years, carers have been frustrated by the fact that funding of around £250 million[1] passed to Primary Care Trusts from Government to spend on carers’ vital breaks has not always been spent.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy said, “This is a welcome move from Government. Where Primary Care Trusts have not spent the money on breaks, carers have felt frustrated and let down.  Many have found it extremely difficult to get relevant information to evaluate what was happening with the funding.

“Breaks are not a luxury but a necessity to carers, many of whom rarely get time to themselves because they are caring around the clock.  This move by Government today marks a real improvement which will be welcomed by carers across England. Given the existing pressure on funding for social care and support for carers, prioritising support for families in this way is particularly welcome.”

At Carers UK’s recent Carers Summit, over 250 carers called upon the Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP, to take decisive action at a recent meeting.

The NHS Operating Framework represents a strong response to this and work by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care that:

  • Spending plans on carers breaks will have to be explicitly agreed and signed off by both local authorities and PCT clusters;
  • The financial contribution made to support carers by both local authorities and PCT clusters will have to be identified;
  • How much of the total is being spent on carers’ breaks will have to be identified with an indicative number of breaks that would be available and, importantly for transparency this will have to be published on the PCT or PCT cluster’s website by 30 September 2012 at the latest.

Notes:

NHS Operating Framework is available here:

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_131428.pdf



[1] In 2008 the last Government announced £150m over two years for carers breaks funding through Primary Care Trusts and in 2010 the Coalition Government announced a further £400m over four years.

If PCTs do not spend their full budget for breaks on supporting carers, it is a false economy, says Carers UK.

Carers UK urges government to act on Human Rights report on Older People's Home Care

Carers UK today welcomed the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s  inquiry report into the human rights aspects of home care for older people which exposed the shocking quality of care that some older people and their families receive.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK said, "This report reflects the real concerns that many people have about poor care for their older relatives and friends and the devastating impact it can have on older people's lives.  Although a majority of people do receive good quality care, the report shows that for too many families, the social care system is failing them. This provides yet more evidence that reform of social care is urgently needed.”

The year long inquiry, based on evidence from many older people and their families highlighted that although a majority of satisfied with their care, many raised concerns which showed that some of the care provided was infringing basic human rights.  It revealed that people were not being fed properly, washed, or basic due care and attention being paid to medication.

Carers UK finds that families often don't know where to turn to complain about services, feel that their concerns are not addressed and many are simply too worried to complain.  The system needs to be strengthened so that older people's views and their families are taken notice of.  The system of regulation needs to improve so that families have the confidence of care that is being provided.   Care agencies need to ensure that their staff are properly trained.

The report also exposes the fact that cash-strapped local authorities are tightening their commissioning arrangements resulting in care companies shortening visits, making it nearly impossible for their staff to provide the level and quality of care that is needed.   The report makes it clear that many of these staff want to do a better job but cannot because there is no time and this can have serious negative consequences for people's human rights.

The Care Quality Commission made a timely announcement on 22 November that it would be carrying out a themed inspection of home care services which will be designed to look at how services meet essential standards and ensure that people will be treated with dignity and respect.   This review is urgently needed in response to the evidence supplied by the EHRC’s inquiry as it is clear that the current system is not delivering the standards of care that people expect and need.

Emily Holzhausen continued, “Government needs to ensure that urgent action and needs to set out a robust plan of action next April when it publishes a White Paper on social care and a progress report on funding.  Carers UK will be looking for a plan of action from Government to plug the funding gap for social care in the short and longer term, better regulation of care providers and new legislation which would ensure that older people's human rights would be respected when home care is provided.”

NOTES

  1. EHRC Inquiry into the human rights in home care for older people lasted one year was chaired by Baroness Greengross and included a number of organisations on the advisory group including Carers UK.  It is published at: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/news/2011/november/home-care-often-fails-to-meet-older-peoples-basic-rights-says-inquiry
  2. Care Quality Commission new themed workstream on home care.   http://www.cqc.org.uk/node/386875
  3. Carers UK chairs the Care & Support Alliance – over 50 organisations representing older and disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families, who work together to promote social care reform.

 

 

6th Carers National Summit 3 November 2011

Carers UK will be highlighting carers’ needs in the current difficult economic climate and will make sure carers’ voices are heard whilst welfare is reformed and care services cut across the country.

Over 450 carers will be joining in a debate with the Care Services Minster Paul Burstow MP, and Minister for Disability and Carers Benefits, Maria Miller MP, to look at the challenges that carers face and what needs to change.

This will take place at the National Carers Summit on 3 November 2011 in London where 250 carers will be present in the room and others joining in the debate online through Carers World Radio.

The challenges for the UK’s 6.4 million carers are greater than ever as benefits and local services are cut. Spending on care in 2010 fell by £1.3bn. Carers already suffer financial difficulties, and often have to give up work or suffer ill-health because of their caring role. They must not be left worse off by these reforms, says Carers UK. Carers already save the Government £119bn a year.

Carers attending the Summit will be able to put questions to Paul Burstow and Maria Miller about the proposed welfare reforms currently being debated in the House of Lords. They want the Government to set out firm plans for funding social care in the longer term.

Carers UK is seeking assurances that carers will not be left worse off as a result of the welfare reforms, including the £55.55 a week Carers Allowance. Carers UK is part of an alliance of charities taking part in the Hardest Hit campaign, which held protests against the proposed cuts in DLA and local services in London on 22 October.

Chief Executive Imelda Redmond CBE said: “Carers really welcome being able to put their questions to Ministers, so they can hear at first hand how changes being made or proposed will affect their lives. 

Government must understand that cutting support to carers is not only a false economy and will cost more in the longer term, it is also not morally just when so many have given up work, health, and contact with friends and family to care for relatives and friends who have become ill and disabled.  

Carers deserve our support and that is what we will be looking for from Ministers at the Summit.”

ENDS

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0207 378 4930 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 0207 378 4937 for further information.
For out of hours press enquiries, please call 07875724088.

Twelve UK cities set for disabled people's protest on HARDEST HIT Day of Action

  • 10.8 million disabled people in the UK
  • Estimated £9 billion loss to disabled people’s income
  • Over 50 organisations joining forces
  • 12 UK cities
  • 12 protests
  • 1 day: 22nd October
  • 1 message: Disabled people are the HARDEST HIT. Stop these cuts

This Saturday (22nd of October) disabled people, their families and friends will take to the streets in cities across the UK to protest against cuts to essential support for disabled people. This takes place one year on from the Comprehensive Spending Review where the Government promised to protect the most vulnerable when making cuts, and as the Welfare Reform Bill, which will significantly reduce support for disabled people, continues to go through Parliament. 

The Hardest Hit campaign, organised jointly by the Disability Benefits Consortium and the UK Disabled People’s Council, brings together individuals and over 50 organisations to send a clear message to the Government: Stop these cuts.

The 11th of May 2011 saw approximately 5000 people march through central London to warn the government that public spending cuts will push disabled people into poverty and isolation. Almost six months on, the situation remains critical as disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families are still being hit the hardest by cuts to the benefits and services they need to live their lives. Local authority budget squeezes have resulted in cuts to frontline services  causing anxiety and poverty, and in some cases forcing disabled people to take expensive and stressful legal action.  Many disabled people are living in fear of cuts to essential benefits including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The total cuts will mean an estimated £9 billion loss to disabled people and their families’ incomes over the next four years, on top of cuts to many local care and support services .

Jaspal Dhani, CEO of the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council, says:
“This Government has broken its promise to protect disabled people from spending cuts. The last 12 months have seen a string of cuts that have hit disabled people the hardest, from benefits changes to local authorities slashing social care budgets and axing concessionary bus passes. This Saturday will see 12 protests in 12 UK cities as disabled people, their families and friends come together to say loud and clear: Stop these cuts.”

Individual event details to date:

  • Edinburgh: Meet at 11am at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens for a rally from 12-2pm. 
  • Cardiff: Meet at 12.30pm at Cardiff Museum for a 1pm rally and march through to town centre from 1.30pm 
  • Leeds: Assemble at Victoria Gardens, Headrow, from 12.30 for a march through main shopping areas. Returning to Headrow for a rally from 2 - 2.30pm 
  • Nottingham: Rally at Market Square from 12.30-2pm. 
  • Brighton: Rally at the Jubilee Square from 11.30-12.30pm. Assemble at 11am. 
  • Manchester: Rally between 2pm and 3pm at Albert Square, outside Manchester Town Hall 
  • Newcastle: Assemble at Bigg Market from 10.30am. March to Monument for rally at 11.30am. Ends at 12.30pm. 
  • Bristol: Assemble at College Green for a march at 12, return to College Green for rally from 1-2pm. 
  • Norwich: Assemble at Chapel Field Gardens (East Exit), NR2 1RS, at 11.30am, for a midday start. Return at 1pm for rally. 
  • London: Assemble at 11am at GLA Building on The Queens Walk for an 11.30am rally. 
  • Birmingham: Assemble at 12 for a rally at Victoria Square from 12.30 -1.30pm. 
  • Belfast: 20 October, 1.30pm, The Radison Blue Hotel, Ormean Rd. A panel debate (including MPs) with questions from the audience. 

We want:

1. No cuts to services vital to disabled people.

2. The Government to ensure that changes to DLA does not make disabled people worse off.

3. The Government to ensure that ESA works by improving the assessment process.

4. The Government to ensure that the welfare system supports disabled people with the additional costs of living with an impairment.

People can support the campaign today by writing to their MP, signing up for a Hardest Hit event taking place near them on 22 October or joining our online protest. Find out more at www.hardesthit.org.uk.

Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/thehardesthit or using #HardestHit on Twitter.

 

 

After 12 years at Carers UK our Chief Executive Imelda Redmond CBE will be leaving the organisation in early November. She will be greatly missed by trustees, volunteers, members, supporters and staff.

During her time at Carers UK Imelda has been a passionate advocate for people whose lives are affected by caring. She has done much to bring the issue from the sidelines and into the mainstream of politics, public policy and business. Her contribution was recognised by her CBE in the 2010 New Year Honours list and demonstrated by her chairing of the Care and Support Alliance - a groundbreaking collaboration of over fifty leading care and support charities and organisations.

Commenting on her departure, Imelda Redmond said "I have enormous respect for the values and principles that underpin this organisation. Carers UK is a carer-led organisation and during my time here I have been privileged to work with many great people on this very important issue. My colleagues, Trustees, members and branches have been a joy to work with and I shall miss them enormously.

I have also been privileged to work with so many colleagues from a wide range of organisations and sectors. I have learnt so much from this experience, lessons and knowledge that I will take with me into my new role as Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie Cancer Care."

The Trustees of Carers UK have begun the process of finding a replacement to lead the charity and help us implement our new three-year strategy.

Carers UK is to be the charity partner for the Carers Award category at the 2011 regional awards. Carers UK is a charity set up to help the millions of people who care for family or friends. At some point in our lives every one of us will be involved in looking after an older relative, a sick friend or a disabled family member. Six million people in the UK are caring right now but whilst caring is part and parcel of life, without the right support the personal costs of caring can be high.

The Carer’s Award is a special category for the Great British Care Awards, and will be given to an unpaid carer or former carer who in the opinion of the judges can demonstrate commitment and perseverance in helping to bring about better recognition and support for carers. This award seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the dedication that carers make to their local community or society.

The award was created by the Great British Care Awards to recognise those people who draw on their own experience to help improve vital support services for carers and the people they care for. 

The award is open to all without any upper or lower age limit. The person must have been helped bring about change in the last 18 months, be unpaid and receive no financial reward.  The individual should be able to demonstrate that they have had a significant positive impact on the lives of carers and that they have gone the extra mile.

Imelda Redmond CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said, 

"Good care services can change the lives of carers and the ill or disabled loved-ones they care for. Carers UK is proud to support the Great British Care Awards, to celebrate the services and individuals who make a real difference to families' lives by delivering excellence in care." 

Mike Padgham, Director of the Great British Care Awards said,

“We are delighted that Carers UK is supporting this special Carer’s Award.  The endorsement of such a well regarded national charity will ensure that this award category gains the high profile it so highly deserves.  Without the millions of unpaid carers many of the elderly and vulnerable members of our communities would not be able to remain independent in their own homes.  We look forward to receiving the nominations which will doubtless prove to be of an extremely high calibre.”

The Great British Care Awards whose principal sponsor is h.e.t. software and are supported by the Department of Health, are now in their third year.  The Great British Care Awards are a series of regional events throughout England and are a celebration  of excellence across the care sector.  The purpose of the awards are to pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work. There are 9 regional awards leading to 2 national finals for both the home care and care home sectors, to be held at a prestigious central London venue in London in 2012.

Nominations are still been invited for the regional 2011 Great British Care Awards details of which can be found at www.care-awards.co.uk

To book your table call 0115 959 6130 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Lets celebrate social care and help it get the recognition it deserves

For more information on The Great British Care Awards please visit the website at www.care-awards.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Carers UK has responded to the launch of the final recommendations of the Dilnot Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, and joined other members of the Care & Support Alliance in a joint statement.

In advance of the publication of the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations on care and support funding, 25 members of the Care and Support Alliance - organisations representing older people, those living with disabilities and long-term conditions and their families - have set out the case for reform.

Thirty-five members of the Care and Support Alliance, which is chaired by Carers UK, have written to every MP, calling for action to reform social care. The letter campaign comes ahead of  a report expected next week from The Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support

The results of the first ever research survey  into the impacts on employers and employees of managing caring at a distance, an issue that affects millions of families, are published today (14 June 2011).

More than 80% of unpaid carers are worried about cuts to services, according to new research for Carers Week 2011 (13-19 June). Almost half don’t know how they will cope as the axe falls on some of the vital support they rely on.

Carers UK has joined with other organisations to write to the political party leaders urging reform of the social care system in England.

Carers UK welcomed the recommendations for a new social care law which have been published today by the Law Commission (1).  The recommendations, if adopted by Government, would bring together 60 years of statute into a single piece of legislation, ending years of confusion and differences between local authorities throughout England.

New estimates, calculated by charity Carers UK and the University of Leeds, show the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives is now worth a staggering £119 billion every year. (1)

Carers UK and Nutricia have joined forces to embark on a mission for good nutrition among the sick and elderly.

Research shows families already struggling with cuts as councils plan to axe more services for older and disabled people.

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