Release Date: 24/07/2012
Carers in Richmond upon Thames will be entitled to funding again this year to enable them to ‘take a break’ – thanks to a grant from NHS Richmond in partnership with Richmond Council. The funding is part of a national allocation of £400m to the NHS over four years (2011-15) to provide support for carers. In Richmond, the NHS has worked in partnership with the council, GPs and voluntary organisations including Richmond Carers Centre and Richmond Borough MIND to use the money to provide carers’ breaks.
Cathy Kerr, Director of Adults and Community Services for the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, addressed a local carers’ conference in Twickenham to announce the further funding for NHS carers’ breaks. She explained that the initiative champions the importance of the health and wellbeing of carers in the borough and encouraged local carers to apply for the £250 grant.
The NHS Carers’ Breaks fund is for unpaid carers, who live in Richmond or care for a Richmond resident, who themselves have a long-term health problem or whose health or wellbeing is being affected by their caring situation (e.g. back injury, stress, psychological ill health). The fund has been set up to pay for a service or break of the carer’s choice to help them to look after their own health and support them in their caring role. Carers are able to use the money for anything that gives them a rest or time to themselves, be it an art class, yoga sessions, a spa day or even just a well-needed day away from caring responsibilities. Carers are encouraged to use the grant in whichever way they feel they would benefit from most.
Carers can be identified through a number of referral routes including GPs and voluntary sector organisations including Richmond Carers Centre, Carers in Mind, Age Concern, INS, Mencap, Relate, Grace Debt Advice, Three Wings Trust and Homelink. Carers can also be referred through health and social care professionals such as the social care teams at the London Borough of Richmond and ‘community matrons’ who are looking after individuals with continuing care or end-of-life care needs. Young carers can be also identified through schools, children’s centres and health visitors. Professionals from these organisations can endorse applications from carers for the NHS Carers’ Break Payment.
Cllr Nicola Urquhart, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing said, “Last year over 630 carers used this grant to take some time off from their caring duties, and the feedback was very positive. Richmond Council and the NHS worked in partnership with many local voluntary organisations including Richmond Carers Centre and RB Mind to publicise the scheme.
“Carers of all ages provide an absolutely essential support in our borough and a lifeline for the people they care for. In many cases, in addition to their role as a carer for a relative or a friend, they also have other family, school or work responsibilities. Caring can be very stressful and in turn it can seriously affect the health and general wellbeing of the caregiver. People tend to put all their time and support into the person they are caring for and take their own health for granted or forget to look after themselves. I would like to encourage carers to apply for this grant, they definitely deserve it.”
To find out more about NHS Carers’ Breaks please visit the Carer pages.