Caring for the Carer
Between December 2020 and February 2021, the Life Changes Trust, supported by the William Grant Foundation , awarded just over £300,000 through a new fund to support unpaid carers of people living with dementia. The funding programme was developed based on learning about the impact of individual small grants for unpaid carers and in recognition of the immense pressure on carers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following an increase in the number of people taking on a caring role during the pandemic, there are now over a million unpaid carers in Scotland. Research by Carers Scotland recently estimated that unpaid carers saved the Scottish Government £43 million each day of the pandemic.
The additional caring responsibilities taken on by unpaid carers of people with dementia have been widely reported. In October 2020 in a Carers UK survey, 87% of all unpaid carers in Scotland reported that they were providing more care than before, because of closure of local services, increasing needs of the person they care for and concerns about contact with paid health and social care staff. Carers who relied on family members or friends to provide a break were no longer able to do this due to restrictions as a result of lockdown. These were familiar experiences among applicants to the Caring for the Carer Fund.
Why this fund?
This funding programme supports one of the Trust’s five investment priorities for people living with dementia and unpaid carers, ‘I am empowered to do the things that are important to me’. These priorities underpin the Trust’s vision that all people living with dementia and unpaid carers in Scotland are valued as full and equal citizens, able to live good quality lives and receive the right support when they need it.
The Caring for the Carer fund aimed to support the wellbeing of unpaid carers during the pandemic and focused on helping them to look after their physical and mental health and wellbeing and to support them in coping with social distancing and isolation, as well as the struggles of day to day life.
The Trust has produced a report which shows the impact that even small amounts of money had on those unpaid carers who received an award, not only allowing them to purchase something that would make their lives better, but to feel recognised and valued in their own right as unpaid carers.
Andrena Faulkner from the Trust's dementia programme has also recorded a presentation, covering the highlights and learning from the report.
You can watch this presentation, below