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Council Launches Unpaid Carers Survey to Help Shape Support Services

Cheshire East Council has launched a new survey for unpaid carers in Cheshire East, seeking feedback on their experiences, the way in which it connects with them, and to help support them best.

An unpaid carer is anyone, including adults and children who looks after a partner, family member or friend, who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, mental health problem or addiction, and cannot cope without their support. Both adults and young unpaid carers are eligible to take part in this survey.

Many carers juggle their caring responsibilities with work, studying and other family commitments, whereas some younger carers in particular are not known to be carers, and don’t tell relatives, friends or healthcare professionals due to fear of separation, guilt, pride and other reasons.

The survey aims to help better support the borough’s estimated 40,000 hidden carers, and address the rising challenges they have faced in the current pandemic. It closes on 31 March 2021 and can be accessed here.

Figures from last November revealed the increased difficulties carers are facing in lockdown, including:

  • Four in five unpaid carers (81 per cent) are currently providing more care than before the first lockdown;
  • More than three quarters (78 per cent) of carers reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased recently
  • Most carers (64 per cent) have not been able to take any breaks at all in the six months from the first lockdown
  • More than half (58 per cent) of carers have seen their physical health impacted by caring through the pandemic, while 64 per cent said their mental health had worsened

Help is available to struggling carers through the Cheshire East Carers Hub which provides a wide range of specialist support services, designed to help adult and young carers continue in their caring role for as long as they choose, while reducing the impact their caring role can have on their mental and physical wellbeing.

The carers hub also offers training and support to take breaks alongside the chance to connect with other carers, and can be contacted via phone at 0300 303 0208 or at enquiries@cheshireeastcarershub.co.uk.

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Cheshire East Council

Councillor Laura Jeuda, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has put significant pressure on our existing carers in the borough, and has further reduced visibility of unpaid carers – including our ‘hidden carers’ who may need additional support.

“Now, more than ever, it is vital that we seek the views of our unpaid carers in Cheshire East to evaluate the effectiveness of our services, and to help inform our support strategies in the future. “I would encourage any unpaid carer to have their say and take part in this survey to ensure we are meeting their needs. There is support available from our Cheshire East Carers Hub, and I urge any carers to take advantage of the help on offer.”