500 carers help develop Council action plan

Grandmother and Grandson

A comprehensive plan to recognise and support the borough’s growing numbers of unpaid Carers is today launched by Newham Council.

Government figures show that Newham has 24,554 Carers*, but the real figure is likely to be far higher, due to residents not identifying themselves as Carers and the impact of the pandemic.

During lockdown Carers delivered *on average 25 extra hours a week of unpaid care, on top of their normal caring responsibilities, as the virus disproportionately affected older people, and those with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

Many Carers, including men, disabled people and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, do not regard themselves as Carers - viewing their caring responsibilities as part of another role, such as a parent, partner, child, relative or friend. Unsupported and unrecognised, their caring responsibilities can affect their health and wellbeing, relationships, employment and finances.

Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor of Newham said: “Lockdown has been hard on everyone, but Carers of all ages who go above and beyond, have faced even greater challenges during the pandemic.

“We have worked alongside 500 Carers and local partners to develop this three-year action plan to recognise, enable and empower all of Newham’s amazing Carers and make a real positive difference to their health and wellbeing. The Council recognises this huge amount of unheralded unseen work by unpaid carers and that they deserve a voice and the right support.”

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali, Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “As part of this plan, we will co-design and implement a Carers Charter to promote a culture of working in partnership with and supporting our Carers.

“We want to make our Carers’ lives easier by listening and responding to what they want, so they can continue to provide their crucial care and enjoy positive lives.”

More than a third (35%) of people caring feel unable to manage their caring role and more than two thirds (72%) have not had a break from caring during the pandemic, according to Carers UK.

The Council collaborated with key partners, including Barts, CCG, Healthwatch Newham and other voluntary and charity organisations to develop the strategy, and will continue to work with them over the next three years to deliver it.

Published: 19 Aug 2021