Posted: 3 December, 2012 at 11:28 am
John Healey has urged Rotherham’s 30,000 carers to seek the support they are entitled to.
The Wentworth and Dearne MP is backing a campaign by Carers UK to mark Carers Rights Day, which took place on Friday.
Mr Healey attended an event for local carers on Friday at Rotherham Town Hall.
He said: “Carers are fulfilling a vital role in our society, but too often they go without the support they need.
“We must all help identify and support people who are looking after ill, frail or disabled loved ones; particularly if they are looking after young children as well.”
Jeanette Mallinder, Rotherham Carers Forum co-ordinator, said the town has a higher than average number of carers – 30,284 – which is 12 per cent of the population. The national average is nine per cent.
Rotherham also has 7,617 people – three per cent of the population – spending 50 hours or more each week looking after a loved one. This is also higher than the national average.
Carers UK say there are 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK, saving the country £119 billion each year.
Recent research by the charity pointed to the additional pressure faced by ‘sandwich carers’ who are juggling childcare with looking after ageing or disabled relatives.
Their survey of more than 1,000 ‘sandwich carers’ showed that four in 10 were struggling to cope. And three quarters said they had seen a drop in earnings because of having to combine work with responsibilities.
Carers UK Chief Executive Helena Herklots said: “More and more families are finding themselves struggling to juggle childcare, care for older parents and work. Often carers aren’t given advice and don’t realise there is support out there – it is crucial they gain access to information and support to help them manage.”
Carers can order a free booklet called Looking after someone: a guide to carers’ rights and benefits by visiting www.carersuk.org or calling Carers UK’s Adviceline on 0808 808 7777.