Carers told: Know your rights

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CARERS across the borough are being invited to a special event to mark Carers Right Day tomorrow.

Wigan Council is staging an information at Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre on Friday (November 20).

A carer is someone who looks after a family member, a friend or neighbour who is disabled, ill, old, or has drug or alcohol problem.

Every year, more than two million people take on a new caring role. Many struggle to navigate the maze of services and entitlements, and miss out on financial and practical support as a result.

And it’s not just people who are new to caring – even those who have been caring for years sometimes aren’t aware of all their entitlements.

Earlier this month a report from Carers UK and the University of Sheffield found that 6.8 million people who provide unpaid care for a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in the UK save the state £132 billion a year – close to the cost of a second NHS.

The report, Valuing Carers 2015 – the rising value of carers’ support, is the third in a series looking at the value of carers’ support to the UK economy. It shows a staggering increase in the value of carers’ support since 2001, almost doubling from £68 billion to £132 billion. Researchers attribute this rise to a dramatic increase in the number of hours people are caring for, combined with an increase in the cost of replacement care.

In Wigan borough, Carers Rights Day will give carers the opportunity to learn more about their entitlements as a carer, from financial assistance to support. A number of local organisations will be on hand to offer support and advice.

They will also be given a Carers’ Discount Card which will give them special offers and discounts at businesses across the borough.

Coun Keith Cunliffe, cabinet member for adult social care and health at Wigan Council, said: “Currently there are 3984 registered carers in Wigan Borough, but it’s thought there are lots more who could be missing out on support and advice.

“Carers UK estimate there are around 7 million informal carers in the UK which equates to approximately one in every ten people. It’s important that those caring for someone else are given the help and support they need to make their lives a little bit easier.”

The event is free and will be held from 10am - 2pm at Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre on Frederick Street in Hindley. Call 01942 705959 or visit www.wiganandleighcarerscentre.org.uk for more information.