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Stroud and Berkeley Vale carers campaign hailed a success 

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A Stroud and Berkeley Vale campaign to identify and support unpaid carers is being hailed a success by carers across the Stroud area.

Since the campaign began in early 2023, more than 800 new carers have been identified by GPs and given support.

Dursley GP and Labour Party candidate, Dr Simon Opher, who led the campaign said: “The NHS and social care sector depend on unpaid carers, often family members, children, spouses or neighbours, who look after older people and people living with disabilities so that they can remain in their own homes. Our NHS would simply collapse without these genuine heroes, and National Carers Week seems a great time to celebrate them.

“Most people wouldn’t really class themselves as carers, but caring can include doing household chores, providing transport, giving socially isolated people company, or giving emotional support.”

Figures show that at some point in our lives half of us will be carers, and it has been estimated that there are at least 10,000 unpaid carers in the Stroud area. Nationally, unpaid carers save health and social care an estimated £193 billion. And yet many carers have been hit by benefit fraud charges, in most cases the result of DWP mistakes, according to the Work and Pensions Select Committee. 

Dr Opher added: “So many people help relatives and friends and go above and beyond in their support. I find it shocking that our benefits system penalises these people. A Labour Government would completely overhaul the system of benefits for carers to remove this unfairness.”

The new scheme in Stroud and Berkeley Vale is designed to identify these carers so that they can be offered extra support. So far, the campaign has managed to identify 800 new carers and they have been put in contact with Gloucestershire Carers Hub. They offer help with all aspects of caring, including how to access support, advice about benefits, helpful telephone numbers and an emergency carers scheme so that if the carer themselves become ill, an immediate two days of social care can be delivered to the patient.

Carer, Mike Baker, from Dursley, said “Caring can be very stressful, and it’s important we know where to go and who to ask if something isn’t going well. We’ve got lots of support from GL11 community centre and I’m glad that more carers are now being supported.

“Carers can also get access to vaccination and other medical help, that’s why it’s important to identify them.” Mike added.

“If you know someone who cares for somebody, urge them to let their GP surgery know, and contact the Gloucestershire Carers Hub. In National Carers Week, it’s time these unsung heroes of our society are given a helping hand.”

Gloucestershire Carers Hub:

Tel 0300 111 9000

Gloucestershirecarershub.co.uk

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