New scheme designed to take pressure off family carers in Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 16:08 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:08 03 August 2017

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Carers Trust Cambridgeshire has launched a Carers at Work scheme to reduce stress and sick leave for family carers who juggle their caring responsibilities while holding down a job.

Tracy Hyland from Carers Trust Cambridgeshire Tracy Hyland from Carers Trust Cambridgeshire

The project aims to support both the carer and the business they work for, offering support for the organisation to set up carers’ groups and advice on a carers’ policy in the workplace, support which will help increase staff morale and productivity.

The UK has more than three million working family carers, which equates to one in nine of the workforce – who can become exhausted and burnt out from their dual responsibilities.

Tracy Hyland, head of young carers/young adult carers and engagement, who is leading the project, said: “There is no doubt it makes good business sense to support family carers at work. If an experienced carer leaves their job because they are unable to cope with both responsibilities, this can be disruptive for the employer who is faced with the expense and inconvenience of recruiting and retraining new staff.

“Giving up work can also cause significant financial hardship for the carer who will become isolated.”

She added: “By going into the workplace, we can also help employers identify staff who may not identify themselves as carers as they regard this as part of their normal life – and even the boss can be a carer and need support.”

Carers Trust Cambridgeshire provides wide-ranging support for family carers, including carers assessments to determine their care needs, a What If? plan for contingency emergency planning for the person they care for and respite breaks.

Figures from Carers UK show that more than one in five UK adults have seen their work negatively impacted as a result of caring, including 2.3 million who have quit work and almost three million who have reduced working hours.

The impact was highest amongst 45-54 year olds, where more than one in four reported that caring had taken a toll on their work. Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals more than two million people each year. Figures show that 58 per cent of carers are women and 42 per cent are men.

Tracy added: “No family carer willingly gives up work. Many take jobs that are lower paid, can be transient in their nature and offer more flexibility, enabling them to take time off.

“We know this can place huge emotional and financial strain on the carer and their family, affecting their own health and wellbeing. At the same time, dedicated family carers save the UK £132 billion a year, enabling the person they care for to remain in their own home.

“As well as supporting the family carer who is struggling to balance work/life while caring, we can provide them with information about carers rights in the workplace, we support the employer to recognise the value of keeping carers in work. It makes good sense for them to retain loyal staff and understand how they may be feeling burnt out at times.

“We can assist employers with training, help them develop a carers policy for their business, and link them with resources to understand their role in keeping family carers at work, as well as creating a carers support group.”

INFO: If you are a carer at work or an employer and would like more information, if you would like to share your experiences, get in touch with Tracy Hyland, on 01480 499090 or e-mail: tracy.hyland@carerstrustcambridgeshire.org.

If you would like to find out more about jobs in the care sector, log on to www.cambridgeshirecarejobs24.co.uk.

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