Plans will support county's 77,000 unpaid carers

Conservative cabinet member for adult care services, Beccy Hopfensperger.

Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care at Suffolk County Council - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK

A new plan to support tens of thousands of unpaid carers in Suffolk is set to be published in September, adult care chiefs have said.

The All Age Carers Strategy aims to highlight the work of more than 77,000 family or unpaid carers in the county, and develop more measures to support them.

The plan is being formed by a coalition of organisations including Suffolk County Council, clinical commissioning groups, the Family Carers Partnership Board, carer groups, health and social care providers and other organisations.

According to 2011 census data, the county has 77,745 unpaid or family carers, although Suffolk Family Carers believes that is now in excess of 100,000.

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care at Suffolk County Council, said: “The role of family and unpaid carers is incredibly important, but too often people fail to realise they are a carer for someone, and consider the work they do to just be another part of their everyday life.

“This means they can potentially miss out on the support which is available to them.

“I hope the upcoming work on this strategy, especially the co-production with carers themselves, both young and old, will help create a new awareness of the important role family carers have within the wider social care sector, and will lead to greater and more accessible support for them across Suffolk.”

Most Read

Focus groups – which included input from carers – were launched last month to gather evidence, and will help inform the strategy and associated action plan, due to be published in September.

A consultation period is expected before the launch.

It has been acknowledged that unpaid and family carers often give up their time, money, education opportunities or careers to care for loved ones, and in many cases did so unknown to others.

While the scope of what the strategy will include is still being discussed, it is likely to include better ways of identifying carers, support opportunities for those caring for loved ones, how well organisations are linked up, and more ways to celebrate and recognise the efforts of carers.

More details are set to be published in due course.