My inaugural year as Edinburgh’s Carers’ Champion has been spent upholding the city council’s pledge to support the thousands of unsung heroes looking after loved ones in the capital every day.
This new role has meant that the city now has an “ambassador” for carers of all ages, who will raise awareness of what matters to them and to influence the development of related policies.
It was set up after the coalition administration made looking after carers a priority by committing to do so through one of its official “pledges”.
This first anniversary was this week marked with the launch of our plan to support the people who care for others who are ill or disabled.
The Edinburgh Joint Carers Strategy plots out our priorities over the next three years to help the nearly 38,000 carers who live in the capital, building on the existing support provided by the city council.
We will focus on six areas: identifying carers; providing information and advice; the health and wellbeing of the carer; offering respite such as short breaks; young adult carers; and offering personalised support to carers.
This builds on our ongoing Live Well in Later Life plan, and on our previous work through the Joint Carers Strategic Plan 2007-12.
The Joint Carers’ Strategy will provide the roadmap for the future commissioning of carer support. Its implementation will be monitored regularly through local carer planning and council committees.
We need to make sure that carers have a life outside of their caring role, and continue to support them so that they are able to carry on caring.
We must do this by working in partnership, not only through the council and NHS Lothian, but with the voluntary and private sector.
I hope that the Joint Carers’ Strategy makes a real difference to the daily lives of carers and the loved ones they look after.
• Councillor Norman Work is Carer’s Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council