The Milton Keynes Labour Group of Councillors are adding their voices to the Carers Week campaign in support of the city’s unpaid carers.
Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of unpaid carers across the country and the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Before the Coronavirus outbreak around 9.1 million people across the UK were unpaid carers, caring for relatives who are older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness.
Since the start of the outbreak this has increased by an estimated 4.5 million people as more people are caring for relatives by doing food shopping, collecting medication or providing emotional support through the crisis.
Unpaid carers are often young family members, and of the 4.5 million new carers almost 60% are women and over half are also juggling paid work and other commitments, putting families under huge pressure and leaving them worried about how they’ll cope over the coming weeks and months.
Locally, Carers MK support unpaid carers in Milton Keynes, including young carers who often miss out on social opportunities and are at risk of falling behind at school. They have been running a series of virtual events during Carers Week alongside their usual services.
Cllr Hannah O’Neill, Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing said: “Carers Week gives us the opportunity to recognise and raise awareness of the challenges facing unpaid carers in normal times and the additional pressures and increase in numbers of unpaid carers during the Covid-19 pandemic”
She continued: “We know unpaid carers are the unsung heroes in our communities and I’m glad that through Carers Week we are able to acknowledge their selfless contribution, especially at this time when they are being relied upon more than ever by family members who need their support.”
She concluded: “Now is the time for Government to act. I’m glad to see the charities supporting Carers Week are calling on the UK Government to recognise the role of unpaid carers, particularly during the pandemic, and ensure they are supported through it and into the future.”