New £9 million scheme offers short breaks to unpaid carers in Wales
Unpaid carers of all ages in Wales are set to benefit from a new short breaks scheme following a £9m investment from the Welsh Government.
The scheme, which will initially be funded for the next three years, will increase opportunities for unpaid carers to take a break from their caring role.
It will support unpaid carers in Wales to enjoy regular periods away from their caring responsibilities, to prevent burnout and boost their mental and physical wellbeing.
A survey of more than 700 unpaid carers found 7 in 10 carers have been unable to take any breaks since March last year.
Another survey of 1,500 unpaid carers also found more than half had to give up on hobbies or personal interests because of their caring role.
This new short break scheme, which will be co-ordinated by a third sector organisation working with others across the public and third sector, will enable more unpaid carers across Wales to have access to the right break for them, at the right time.
“I know a lot of unpaid carers have struggled to access short breaks during the pandemic and how this has impacted on them,” Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said:
“We’re investing in this respite and breaks scheme as we recognise how important these short breaks are from their caring responsibilities, supporting both their physical and mental wellbeing, and how they can have a positive impact on their lives.
“We want to make it easier for unpaid carers of all ages across Wales to access a break and by working together we believe this is the most effective way to do so.”
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Social Services Minister Gareth Davies MS said: “The Welsh Conservatives have long argued that respite is one of the things unpaid carers value most so moves to make that more achievable for them should be welcomed.
“However, the Labour Government’s actions fall far short of a right to respite and the free access to training, support, and carer assessments that we had in our manifesto.
“Let’s not forget either than the £9m announced split between Wales’ 400,000 unpaid carers leaves just over twenty quid per person – and although the scheme is designed to target those on lower incomes, most carers, given they are unpaid, will likely fall in that bracket.
“I am glad Labour ministers are getting the message that their approach to carers is too short-sighted, but we remain commitment to introducing a scheme for young carers to provide them with free bus travel and grants to access education, training, and employment.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “We are glad to see the Welsh Government roll put this scheme after following a long campaign from the Liberal Democrats that we started in early 2021.”
“We are glad to see the Welsh Government roll put this scheme after following a long campaign from the Liberal Democrats that we started in early 2021.
“Far more needs to be done to recognise the extraordinary hard work of carers and to make their lives easier. We all know someone who is a carer and we all see the vital work they do with their work estimated to save the Welsh Government around £12 billion a year.”
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