Is Care Act failing us?
Imagine having a disability and relying on a carer to eat, get dressed or leave the house. Imagine having to give up work to care for a loved one with a disability. Just over a year ago, the Care Act was introduced to safeguard the well-being of carers and those they care for.
I work for the disability charity Revitalise. We run the Sandpipers respite break centre in Southport. We did some research and found that the Care Act has done little to improve lives, and in many cases people are now worse off.
We found that more than half of local councils are spending less on disability services than before, and they’re also cutting their spending on respite services. Meanwhile one of the core principles of the Care Act, to ensure all carers and disabled people get assessments, isn’t being met.
Sadly, this is having an impact on the well-being of people with disabilities and those who look after them. Four out of 10 are now struggling to make ends meet, while two thirds have had to cut back their respite and social time, leaving them more isolated.
We believe there should be more support for disabled people and carers. Our fear is that until local authorities get squarely behind the principles of the Care Act – and they get the funding to do so – disabled people and carers will continue to struggle to achieve even the most basic quality of life.
Revitalise provides respite breaks for disabled people and carers at Sandpipers and two other accessible centres around the UK, so we know just how vital regular respite can be. If your readers would like more information about Revitalise or would like to support our vital work, please call us on 0303 303 0145 or visit www.revitalise.org.uk.
Life chances are affected
The stories published as part of Carers Week highlight not only the huge contribution that carers make, but also how a worrying lack of support is affecting their life chances.
The new findings show that three-fifths of carers have had to give up work or reduce their hours, whilst just under half have struggled financially. As a charity helping people in financial hardship, this echoes what we hear on a daily basis, with many carers telling us they’re struggling to buy food for their families.
There is often a lack of awareness of what support is available amongst carers and other people in financial need, and sometimes a feeling that this support might not be for them. We recently found that nearly half of low income households are not claiming the welfare support they could qualify for, with 57 per cent believing they would not be eligible. It is vital that carers are provided with the appropriate support to enable them to continue in their role, and we are working together with other charities and organisations to ensure that financial help is as accessible and prominent as possible.
We urge carers and anyone else experiencing financial hardship to use our free Benefits Calculator and Grants Search at Turn2us.org.uk to find out quickly and easily what support could be available. It could make all the difference in easing some of the pressures they face.
Chief Executive Turn2us
Let us lead
Let us give the lead and I believe others in Europe may follow. Let us not be scared by the fear stories spread by those who are afraid to do the right thing.
On June 23, let us vote to leave.