New programme set to support young unpaid carers

New programme set to support young unpaid carers

This year, almost 270,000 unpaid carers in our region, including 50,000 young carers, have been faced with new challenges, taking on increased caring responsibilities in the face of Coronavirus.

The East of England Co-op’s Community Care’s Fund is helping to provide support to unpaid carers in our region, including both adult and young carers, some only four years of age.

The latest grant of £57,000 will support eight projects across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, providing support and respite.

According to, an unpaid carer undertakes 50 hours of care each week on average, while trying to maintain a life of their own.

Suffolk Family Carers helps support carers of all ages across Suffolk get the support they need to live fuller lives, and over the past 30 years have provided advice and support to thousands of family carers.

The grant received from the East of England Co-op Community Cares’ Fund, will support both older and younger carers in the county.

For older carers, understanding and accessing entitlements, and completing the associated paperwork, can be complicated. A proportion of the grant will help fund an additional position to provide greater capacity for older carers looking to claim support.

Head of Services at Suffolk Family Carers, Hayley Hancock, explained: “This funding will help carers obtain and retain the benefits they are entitled to. Helping carers to plough through the increasing, often complex and overwhelming, paperwork will help alleviate stress. This is now more important than ever in Suffolk following the closure of Age UK Suffolk who were previously helping in this area.”

A survey, carried out in July 2020 by Carers Trust, found that 67% of the young carers surveyed were more worried about the future, with 69% feeling less connected to others and 40% of saying their mental health had worsened in recent months. In addition, almost 8% of young carers and 15% of young adult carers reported providing over 90 hours of care per week.

These findings make the scoping of a new programme to help combat childhood trauma for young carers particularly important. The new service has the aim of supporting over 40 registered young carers in Lowestoft and Suffolk Coastal area, to form new networks and build resilience. The new service will combine workshops with 1:1 school and peer support, resulting in bespoke, child friendly family road maps, with appropriate signposting.

Niall O’Keeffe, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “This past year has been difficult for many, with social distancing and shielding, working from home and lockdown removing the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

“For those with additional caring responsibilities, lockdown measures have compounded the feeling of isolation.

”With Coronavirus very much still impacting our daily lives, we felt it important to ensure that those who are doing so much for others, get access to the support they need personally, and we are therefore delighted to support this initiative.”

For more information visit the East Of England Co-op website

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