Young carers in Essex admit they struggle to socialise and do homework

Report finds carers are left isolated in Essex. Library image.

Report finds carers are left isolated in Essex. Library image. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Unpaid carers in Essex often feel isolated, guilty and uncared for according to a report published today.

A study by Healthwatch Essex found that formal support is bureaucratic, confusing and hard to access, while young carers say it is hard for them to socialise and do school work compared to their friends.

There are more than 145,000 unpaid carers in the county, of which around 10,000 are children.

The study involved carers completing an audio diary before taking part in an interview.

It found that carers generally had a good knowledge of the needs of the person they were caring for, and more recognition of this was needed from professionals.

Other recommendations include more personalised support, easier access to information and services, and more groups to support young carers.

A Good Samaritan scheme has also been put forward which would see businesses be accredited as their staff complete disability awareness training.

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Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive of Healthwatch Essex, said: “With more than 145,000 people in Essex providing care for a family member or friend on a daily basis, it’s vital that we come to a deeper understanding of carers’ experiences, and how they can be better supported.

“New legislation has recently changed the way local authorities are obliged to help support carers, so this is an opportunity to make changes for the better.

“We hope our findings and recommendations are given appropriate consideration by the health and care authorities, as a means of providing support to carers in order that they can continue to care without a cost to their own health and wellbeing.

“We see this report as the beginning of a process of change for carers – there are a lot of organisations working to improving experiences of caring, here in Essex, and nationally.

“We’ve just begun a two-year project that builds on the findings and recommendations of our report seeking to find out from carers how they feel the Care Act 2014 has impacted them.”

If you are a carer and would like to give your feedback about the report, or contribute to the new project about the impact of the Care Act, email Healthwatch Essex at enquiries@healthwatchessex.org.uk or call 01376 572829.

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