Thousands of carers across Gloucestershire will be able to benefit from additional breaks and extra respite support thanks to a £100,000 donation from Barclays.
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire was one of only 100 UK charities to secure the funding and will be using it to provide much-needed support for people caring for loved ones in their own homes across the county.
For the last 12 months, carers looking after loved ones have received little or no outside support due to Covid-19 lockdown measures and strict rules on shielding. Older carers in particular, who would usually have access to different support groups, are experiencing increased feelings of isolation and coping with higher stress levels.
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire supports unpaid family carers and the people they care for, but many of their group-based support services had to be suspended at the start of the pandemic as a result of Government guidance on social distancing. For some carers, these group sessions provided the only opportunity they had to take some precious time out for themselves.
Helen Baker, CEO at Crossroads Care Gloucestershire said: “Just a few hours break from looking after a person with care needs or various health conditions; whether its to take a walk with a friend, go shopping, or just have a long bath and read a book, can help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall physical and mental health and wellbeing in carers.
“That’s why we’re so grateful to have successfully secured this funding from Barclays, which should see us reach an additional 3,000 unpaid carers in Gloucestershire and help improve their quality of life.”
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire will be able to give carers a break away from their caring role by focusing on providing increased 1:1 support in people’s homes rather than as part of a group setting. This will be delivered in a completely safe way and will involve just one member of staff visiting the home to look after the person with care needs.
Helen added: “We are passionate about providing meaningful support to unpaid carers across Gloucestershire and have had more and more carers, desperate for support, contact us in the last 12 months, and we expect numbers to increase even more as we navigate our way through the pandemic. The impact of Covid-19 has left many carers feeling alone, but if there is one positive, it has also helped shine a light on the amazing commitment carers make. The value of unpaid carers in the UK is in excess of £132bn a year, which is the equivalent to a second NHS.
“Like many charities, the impact of the pandemic left us facing a significant loss of income, which then has a knock on effect on the work we can do, and the support we can provide in the community. The Barclays donation gives us a lifeline and ensures we can continue to be there for carers in Gloucestershire at a time when they need us more than ever.”
It is estimated that there are an additional 4.5 million unpaid carers in the UK since the pandemic hit so extra funding is critical in providing more support. There has also been a hesitancy by carers to put loved ones in care home facilities due to concerns around Covid-19, so demand on carers has grown as they continue to care for people in the home environment who, under different circumstances, would have been entering a care home facility for round-the-clock care.
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire secured the funding as part of the 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme to support COVID-19 relief work in local communities. The programme, which forms part of their wider COVID-19 Community Aid Package, focuses on supporting UK charity partners who are meeting the immediate needs of people in our communities, including low income families, those facing financial hardship, isolated elderly people and key workers.
Barclays were inundated by hundreds of applications from charities across the UK who are struggling to deliver on-the-ground support to vulnerable communities impacted by the crisis.
Nigel Higgins, Barclays Chairman, said: “COVID-19 has created an unprecedented social and economic impact in the UK, with many experiencing greater hardship due to the crisis. Incredible charities, such as Crossroads Care Gloucestershire have been playing a vital role in the UK’s response to the pandemic, ensuring urgent help reaches those most in need of support. As a bank we have been doing all we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and we hope that by partnering with Crossroads Care Gloucestershire and many other charities across the UK, collectively we can ensure that as many people as possible in the communities in which we live and work are supported through this crisis.”
To find out more about Crossroads Care Gloucestershire or if you are a carer seeking support, please visit www.crossroadscareglos.org.uk