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Jan 09 2014

Cllr Victoria Silver: We should all champion carers in 2014

cllr_victoria_silverThis year carers in our community turn a corner with rights to support changing right across England. In future Harrow Council will need to ensure there is a range of support available to meet carers needs.

1 in 8 people in Harrow are carers, but it is estimated only around 15% get any kind of help. This lack of support is a ticking time bomb given how much the council and NHS relies on this unpaid army of volunteers. Carers often don’t have time to look after themselves and carer stress is one of the biggest triggers for admission to care homes. We need to act now by championing carers and making them a priority in the council’s budget set in February.

Today maternity rights are taken for granted, but when life expectancy in Harrow is among the highest in the country, we need to see a similar shift about carers, so our support system puts carer wellbeing on an equal footing with the patient.

With these changes our attitudes need to change too. It’s brilliant the council organises monthly coffee mornings, but we need to move away from describing carers as just a group of people with needs.

On the other side of the coin carers have given up work to care and have developed amazing skills and talents in their caring role. Good care can be a stimulus to the local economy and supporting carers by unleashing their expertise can give real value and wealth to our community and local care economy.
Over 24,000 people in Harrow are carers and 2014 should be a year of action where we take every opportunity to recognise and celebrate their contribution. It should also be a year where carers are given a much higher priority in council spending decisions.

Carers should also be given a chance to share their expertise so that their coping strategies and insights can touch the lives of many more carers who want advice from someone who has walked in their shoes.

carers_group

Councillor Victoria Silver | Kenton East

Harrow Carer Champions project group

To find out more about the Harrow Carer Champions Project contact: victoria.silver@harrow.gov.uk

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