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Caring with confidence launched

12th May 2009

Caring with Confidence, a free Department of Health backed knowledge and skills based learning experience for carers in England, has today been launched – with the aim of helping carers make a positive difference to their life and that of the person they care for.  Around 4.9  million people(1) are estimated to provide unpaid care in England and new research(2) from Caring with Confidence has revealed as many as 62% - or more than three million do not view themselves as carers.

To address this major national issue, the programme will offer support and help to carers across England, with particular emphasis on the millions of people who provide care on a daily basis but don’t know where to begin when it comes to accessing the services and benefits available to them.  The research also revealed that more than 60% of those people asked believed their caring role affected their health (16% a lot 46% a little). As a result the need to support people looking after loved ones in a flexible manner has never been greater.

This support is provided by Caring with Confidence through local sessions with groups of carers or from home using workbooks or the internet.

Stephen Jacobs, OBE, Caring with Confidence Project Board Chair, said: “The contribution made by carers is huge, but it is a role that is often taken on at short notice and without preparation, leaving carers to struggle with the vital responsibilities that they have assumed - this is where Caring with Confidence can help.

“The new programme will be free to carers, giving them a safe and supportive environment to explore the services available to them, look at the essentials of looking after someone and how to communicate effectively with other people to help support their needs - which will improve their own health and wellbeing and that of the person they care for.”

Caring with Confidence is part of the Government’s New Deal for Carers and the . It is aimed at helping carers build on their knowledge and strengths, sharing useful information and identifying the positive changes they can make in their own situations.

Today’s launch (May 12) marks the start of the programme across England for all carers over the age of 18.  Caring with Confidence is being supported by Mike Tomlinson, husband of the hugely inspirational athlete and fundraiser Jane Tomlinson CBE, who passed away in September 2007 after a long battle with cancer.

He said: “I have personal experience of caring for a loved one and it can often be an isolated and difficult experience as you struggle to balance the needs of the person you care for with your own and those of the wider family.

“Support was available but not in such a way that it could be accessed easily. The flexibility Caring with Confidence offers means that people across England will be able to access these vital support services and meet with other people in similar situations to exchange information and share knowledge.”

The programme has been developed over the past 12 months with ongoing support from carers, which has highlighted the need for a recognised programme of this type.  Research conducted during the development also revealed one in five people caring 50 plus hours a week are also juggling a full-time job, and 23% of those people asked had been caring for at least 10 years.  It also showed that any support or provision should explain how to deal with the benefits and healthcare system (46% and 41% said these topics would be very or extremely useful) as well as providing practical information and advice about the condition they are dealing with (38% very or extremely useful).

The Caring with Confidence programme will run via a network of 32 providers(3) throughout England. Carers will be encouraged to build on their own knowledge and skills based on a personal programme of development through both face to face sessions and distance learning.  By working with carers and experts within the carers’ arena, Caring with Confidence has been designed to enhance and supplement existing provision rather than replace it. The provider organisations through which local sessions are being delivered have been carefully selected through their capacity to meet the needs of carers and recruit them to their sessions.

 

1 Based on 2001 Census data.

2 The research referred to in the press release was conducted by an independent market research company during February, March and April 2008. The study saw 1084 carers contacted and six detailed group discussions were held.  This 62% figure quoted changes to the following by English region, North East 58%, North West 64% Yorkshire 62%, East Mids 56%, West Mids 62%, East of England 69%, London 61%, South East 65% and South West 64%.

3 Providers of face-to-face group sessions:

  • Age Concern Birmingha
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Barnet Carers Training Working Group Adult Social Service, London Borough of Barnet
  • Black and Minority Ethnic Carers Support Service
  • The Carers Centre (Bristol & South Gloucestershire)
  • The Carers’ Resource – Bradford
  • The Carers’ Resource – North Yorkshire
  • Carers Support Centre
  • Carers Support (West Wiltshire)
  • Carers Together
  • CLASP The Carers Centre
  • Derbyshire Carers Association
  • Gloucestershire County Council
  • The Greenwich Carers Centre
  • Hammersmith and Fulham Carers Centre
  • Jewish Care
  • The Lesbian & Gay Foundation
  • London Borough of Hounslow (West London Gay Men’s Project on behalf of GMI Partnership)
  • Making Space
  • Manchester Carers Centre
  • NHS Bolton
  • NHS East of England
  • NHS Hull
  • North West Kent Carers Support Service
  • Omega The National Association for End of Life Care
  • Oxfordshire Carers Forum
  • South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Warwickshire Carers Support Service/Guideposts Trust Carers Support Service
  • St Helens Carers Centre
  • Suffolk Carers
  • Sunderland Carers Centre
  • West Anglia Crossroads Caring for Carers

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