The Guernsey Community Foundation is to fund the creation of a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting the 4,000 Islanders who provide informal care for family members and friends with life-limiting health conditions. At present, there is no one organisation that works to represent the whole community of carers and to look after their needs.
The newly formed Carers Guernsey will:
- provide emotional and practical support to carers of all ages;
- give carers a voice in matters that affect them;
- provide a central service for information and advice to carers; and
- assist in the identification of and sourcing of various carers services.
- achieve these and more primarily by working with and supporting existing charities and organisations and in partnership with the States of Guernsey
The Foundation will provide £80,000 to cover the new charity’s start-up costs, and help to source additional funds to cover ongoing expenses.
The creation of Carers Guernsey is one of a number of recommendations made by the Carers Working Group in a report entitled Provision for Carers in Guernsey, published today.
The working group – which is led by Peter Harwood, ex-Deputy and former Chair of the States Supported and Living Well Strategy – was set up by the Foundation after the Guernsey Disability Alliance raised concerns about gaps in the provision of support available to carers.
The report, which was presented to deputies and representatives of the charitable sector at a special event at Les Cotils, examines the provision of support for carers across the public, private and voluntary sectors. It concludes that although carers save the States approximately £29m a year by looking after friends and loved ones, they face a range of challenges including:
- Insufficient respite care
- Limited information on the support services available
- A lack of a support network to give emotional support and advice
- An absence of training
- Limited community service provision
- A lack of personal care budgets
- Affordability of private care
- Employer inflexibility
- The lack of a single ‘voice’ or advocacy group representing their interests
Reverend Jan Le Billon of Carers Coming Together, a voluntary group which provides Away Days for carers, said:
“Carers are the unsung heroes of the community. Caring for loved ones can be exhausting, and, if the person being cared for can’t be left on their own, being a carer can mean being housebound. It is vital that carers receive support and quality care themselves. They need to be able to get out to relax, or meet friends, or shop—things that the rest of us take for granted.
We are hoping that the work of the Carers Working Group leads to an improved support network for carers – one that meets their needs, as well as the needs of the person they are caring for.”
Deputy Jane Stephens, member of the Policy and Resources Committee, spoke at the launch event and welcomed the Carers Working Group’s report and the creation of Carers Guernsey. Deputy Stephens said that the States is looking forward to working in partnership with Carers Guernsey and other community organisations on the development of the Carers Strategy, due to be considered by the States in 2018.
Deputy Jane Stephens said:
“I would like to thank the Guernsey Community Foundation for undertaking this research into the extent of the support that is currently available to carers in Guernsey. Many people in Guernsey juggle caring responsibilities with both work and family commitments and this report highlights some of the challenges currently faced by carers in Guernsey. We look forward to hearing the views of other interested parties on the proposals and to working in partnership with the Guernsey Community Foundation and other community organisations as this work is taken forward.”