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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the lives of carers and those they are caring for. A majority have had to provide extraordinary hours of care for loved ones with increasing needs during the crisis, often without the usual help from family and friends, and with limited or no support from local services.

As a result, many people providing care have been left exhausted, socially isolated and close to burnout. Adding to these considerable pressures, carers have also taken a financial hit, and seen their health and wellbeing decline.

 

Campaign for more support for unpaid carers

To raise awareness of the increased support carers urgently need to help them through winter, we asked carers to write to their local MP to share with them their own personal experiences of caring during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that MPs hear first-hand how the pandemic has made it harder for their constituents to care for those close to them. 

 

We are calling on the government to do the following

In the short term, we are calling on the government to continue to introduce measures that support carers, including:

  • Making sure that carers can take breaks and that the return of essential services is prioritised.
  • Providing clear guidance, information, and advice specifically for carers
  • Raising the level of Carer’s Allowance
  • Supporting carers’ to look after their own health and wellbeing, and providing targeted funding for carers mental health support. 
  • Ensuring that carers are better able to juggle work and care and remain in work.
  • Providing sufficient funding for social care over the winter.

But we’re not just focussing on the immediate action. After what carers have experienced during the pandemic, we also want the government to implement a New Deal for Carers, with medium term tangible action to support carers and those they care for.

Longer term, carers also need to be placed at the heart of a reformed and sustainable social care system that provides more support to both those giving and receiving care.

 

Caring behind closed doors: six months on – key stats:

  • 4 in 5 unpaid carers (81%) are currently providing more care than before lockdown.
  • More than three quarters (78%) of carers reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased recently.
  • Most carers (64%) have not been able to take any breaks at all in the last six months.
  • More than half (58%) of carers have seen their physical health impacted by caring through the pandemic, while 64% said their mental health has worsened.

 

What Carers UK is doing

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Carers UK has placed a high value on information and advice to carers, providing carers with clear information about how to manage and care safely.

Carers UK, Carers Wales, Carers Scotland and Carers Northern Ireland have consistently raised issues with our governments on behalf of carers, highlighting the concerns carers have been raising with us through our helpline, online forum and in our research. We have campaigned for better guidance; funding to enable local services to reopen; consideration for carers in food schemes; testing for carers; PPE and specific advice to support juggling work and care. We are continuing to work hard to ensure that carers voices are heard by all of the UK governments.

 

Find out more

You can read more about the challenges faced by carers during the coronavirus outbreak in our report, Caring behind closed doors: six months on (October 2020)here.

Back in April 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also released our original, Caring behind closed doors (April 2020), which you can read here.

You can find information and advice about caring during the coronavirus outbreak here.

Latest updates

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Two million employees set to benefit from Carer’s Leave as final details of new law go through Parliament
28 February 24

Final legislation passed in Parliament yesterday seals a groundbreaking new right for two million employees with unpaid caring responsibilities to…

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MPs and Peers launch survey to gather unpaid carers’ views on their call for a new National Carers Strategy
08 February 24

A cross-party group of MPs and Peers have today launched a new survey to gather the views of unpaid carers…

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Coalition of Carers Organisations statement on Stormont restoration
31 January 24

Coalition of Carers Organisations statement on the significant damage of political stalemate to unpaid carers in Northern Ireland.

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Carers ‘hammered’ by cost of living crisis need benefits reform from new Assembly, charity warns
31 January 24

Carers NI response to new research from Deloitte showing that addressing the cost of living crisis is the top priority…

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