Members, the NIPSA Equality Committee has agreed to support this campaign. Please share as widely as possible.

Geraldine Alexander
Assistant Secretary

Ahead of Carers Week 2021, we are launching a new campaign to highlight the urgent need for carers to be better supported to take breaks from their caring responsibilities.

Millions of carers have gone to extraordinary lengths over the past year to look after and support those they care for, with many caring around the clock without any meaningful breaks. This increased support has often come at great personal cost and left carers exhausted, burnt-out, and increasingly worried about the future.

Before the pandemic, carers often struggled to be able to take the breaks they needed and, over the last year, many carers have been unable to access essential support services and have been less able to rely on friends and family, meaning this situation has become even more difficult. Carers have not only taken on more care, but two thirds of carers have not had any breaks at all since the start of the pandemic.

That is why this Carers Week we will be shining a spotlight on the lack of breaks that carers have been able to take in the past year, and the worrying impact this is having on their health and wellbeing, as well as their ability to work and live a meaningful life beyond caring.

To address this situation, we are calling on the government to urgently increase funding for carers’ breaks by an additional £1.2 billion, so all carers providing significant hours of care can take a break.

To raise awareness of our campaign, we are asking people to write to their local MP ahead of Carers Week. We have provided a template letter highlighting the importance of carers breaks.

Our ask is that you help to raise awareness of our campaign amongst carers you are in contact with. To that end, please help to promote the campaign on social media and share the below link widely. We have provided a message below, for you to share on your social media channels and on your websites:

Support @CarersWeek’s campaign for better breaks for unpaid carers by writing to your MP! Carers have been caring 24/7 during the pandemic without any breaks, leaving many exhausted. The government must increase funding for carers breaks: bit.ly/JoinCarersWeekCampaign

Please also write to your own MP about the campaign, if you would like to, using the button below. This will only take a couple of minutes of your time.

Carers Week takes place annually to help raise awareness of the vital role millions of unpaid carers play in supporting our communities and is the largest annual carers awareness campaign in the UK. It is led by Carers UK, with the support of five other national charities in 2021: Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association, Rethink Mental Illness and Oxfam GB. You can find out more about Carers Week and how to get involved here: www.carersweek.org.