MPs recognise vital role of carers
West Sussex MPs Nick Herbert (Arundel & South Downs) and Andrew Tyrie (Chichester) joined carers and support workers in Chichester on Friday (18 June) for a local event to mark Carers Week.
The ‘outreach' event was organised by staff and volunteers of the Carers Support Service, a charity which supports around 2,000 carers in Chichester District, Arundel and Bognor Regis.
Mr Herbert and Mr Tyrie were given a briefing on the work of the service, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, by Chief Executive Richard North.
They also spoke to carers Claire Smith of Barnham and Alan Colenutt of Chichester about their experience of caring for a member of the family.
Six million people in the UK are caring for a relative or friend who, because they are frail, ill or disabled, would not be able to manage on their own. Estimates suggest that carers save the UK economy £87 billion every year by taking pressure off health and social services.
In West Sussex there are nearly 74,000 people - over 11 per cent of the population - working as unpaid carers. Of these, around 13,000 people are caring for 50 hours a week or more.
Nick Herbert commented: "It was useful to find out more about the work of the Carers Support Service and chat to Claire and Alan about their experiences as carers. I receive a lot of correspondence from constituents who look after a loved one and it's reassuring to know there are charities like this that they can turn to for help. Carers are under enormous pressure and I think there's a huge disparity between families that have a caring responsibility and those that don't."
Mr Herbert added: "Carers deserve a lot of respect and admiration for what they do. They look after some of the most vulnerable people in our society and we should do whatever we can to help them. I'm delighted that the new Government is urgently looking at how we can reform social care. Often it's the little things that carers appreciate most, like the chance to have a break every now and again."
Notes for Editors
1. For an article by Nick Herbert on the role of carers, visit http://www.nickherbert.com/media_centre.php/346/Carers%20Week.
2. For the website of the Carers Support Service (Chichester), which serves an area that includes Chichester, Arundel, Bognor Regis, Selsey, Witterings, South Harting, Midhurst, Petworth, Fernhurst and Wisborough Green, visit http://www.carerssupportservice.org.uk/.
3. For the website of the Carers Support Service (Worthing), which serves the coast from Littlehampton to Fishersgate and north to Steyning, Storrington, Pulborough and Henfield, visit http://www.carerswsx.org.uk/.
4. For the website of West Sussex Carers Online, visit http://www.westsussexcarers.org.uk/.
5. Carers Week (14-20 June) is organised by a partnership of seven national charities: Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Care, Help the Hospices, Macmillan Cancer Support, Parkinson's UK and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. For more information about Carers Week, visit http://www.carersweek.org/. This year's event is supported by actor Sir David Jason OBE who said: "I am supporting Carers Week and want to express my respect and gratitude to all our carers. I want to ensure that those who feel isolated or lonely because of caring learn about the services and support out there to help them." Speaking about his personal experience, Sir David said: "A lot of people, including myself, have had to look after someone at a time of illness or infirmity. However, the people who really deserve our support and encouragement are those carers, young and old, who are in this situation day in day out, caring for someone who truly depends on them. Thank goodness they care."