Today is national Carers Rights Day, which seeks to highlight the important role performed by thousands of people in Edinburgh on a daily basis.
It was set up by the charity Carers UK to bring organisations together to help unpaid carers get the help they’re entitled to.
In my capacity as the capital’s first ever carers’ champion, I have had the honour of meeting many of these unsung heroes and the people they care for.
This role has meant that the city now has an ambassador for carers; someone who will raise awareness of what matters to them and to influence the development of related policies.
It was set up after the capital coalition made looking after carers a priority, committing to do so through one of its official pledges to the city.
The official plan to support those who care for people who are ill, frail or have a disability or mental health issue is the Edinburgh Joint Carers’ Strategy. This sets out our six priorities over the next three years to help the 38,000 carers who live in the capital, building on the existing support provided by the council. The plan was co-produced by the council, NHS Lothian, carers’ organisations and carers themselves.
We have offered again a carers’ support payment of £250 and a carer’s assessment and support plan, which should be able to determine the carer’s needs and establish an outcome-focused support plan.
Other services we offer include VolunteerNet, the Carers Emergency Card, Carer Support Hospital Discharge Service and the Edinburgh Carer Support Team.
We have commissioned a range of services from carer organisations which benefit both young and adult carers in the city. These can be found via the Edinburgh Choices website or our carers’ support pages on the council website.
Our vision for adult carers is that they live healthy, fulfilling lives and will be valued as equal partners in the provision of care and informed of decisions about carer support. Carers will be able to sustain their caring role, if appropriate and if they choose to do so.
For young carers, our vision is that they are able to be children first and foremost and relieved of any inappropriate roles.
• Councillor Norman Work is carers’ champion for the City of Edinburgh Council