Charity appeal as care crisis looms nearer

A CHARITY which supports carers here in 1066 Country is appealing for support amid worrying warnings over a looming care crisis.

SAFE Respite Care – set up in 1998 – offers short respite placements for sick, disabled and elderly people in St Michael’s Hospice to give their carers a much-needed break. But with demand increasing, former Mayor Cllr Maureen Charlesworth is asking local people to help.

“We are a small charity but what we do is hugely important because carers are quite often forgotten,” she said. “They need a break and they can only have a break if they know the person they are caring for is being looked after properly. I remember my mother when she was caring for my father said she had forgotten what it was like to sleep through the night until he had some respite care.”

There are currently six million carers in the UK, expected to rise to nine million over the next 15 years, and the cost of respite care is spiralling.

“It can be up to £800 a week and a lot of people cannot afford that,” Cllr Charlesworth said. “The more people who get involved, by joining as members or helping out with events, the more people we can help.”

Steve McIntosh, a policy officer for Carers UK said respite care is more important than ever. He said: “The pressures on carers are increasing and the percentage of carers working for 50 hours a week or more has doubled over the past ten years.

“It is crucial if you are caring for someone that you have a break because it can take a huge toll on your health – a carer who does not get a break is twice as likely to develop mental health problems.

“If we do not invest in the care sector then families will be stretched to breaking point – we need councils to make care a priority,” he added.

SAFE Respite Care is holding an Irish-themed coffee morning at St Michael’s Hospice on March 19, and a quiz at The Bo-Peep pub on March 31. For information call Cath Burrows on 01424 432054.