Council ensures that carers are not alone

The following opinion piece from Carer's Champion Councillor Norman Work appeared in Friday's Scotsman.

Friday November 28 was national Carers Rights Day, which seeks to highlight the important and valued role performed by thousands of people in Edinburgh on a daily basis.

It was set up by the charity Carers UK to bring organisations together to help unpaid carers to know what their rights are, as well as how to get the help that they’re entitled to.

In my capacity as the Capital’s first ever Carers’ Champion, I have had the honour of meeting many of these unsung heroes and the people that they care for.

This role has meant that the city now has an “ambassador” for carers, who can be any age, young or old, who will raise awareness of what matters to them and to have influence in the development of related policies.

It was set up after the Capital Coalition made looking after carers a priority by committing to do so through one of its official pledges to the city.

The official plan to support carers who care for other people who are ill, frail, have a disability or have a mental health issue is the Edinburgh Joint Carers’ Strategy. This sets out our six key priorities to help the nearly 38,000 carers who live in the Capital over the next three years, building on the existing support provided by the Council. The plan was coproduced by the Council, NHS Lothian, carer organisations and carers themselves.

We have offered again a Carer’s Support Payment of £250 to carers and this is one way that carers find out more about what they may be entitled to. We also offer a carer’s assessment and support plan which skilled practitioners undertake and should be able to determine the carer’s needs and establish an outcome focused support plan.

We also offer a range of services, such as VolunteerNet, the Carers Emergency Card, Carer Support Hospital Discharge Service, and the Edinburgh Carer Support Team.

We also have commissioned a wide range of services from carer organisations that benefit both young and adult carers in the city. These can be found via ‘Edinburgh Choices’ website or via our Carers support pages on the Council website.

Our vision for adult carers is that they are able to live healthy, fulfilling lives and that they will be valued as equal partners in the provision of care and informed of decisions about carer support. Carers will be able to sustain their caring role, if appropriate and if they choose it.

For young carers, our vision is that we want to ensure that they are enabled to be children and young people first and foremost and relieved of any inappropriate caring roles to allow them to have a quality of life.

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