We’re making sure unpaid family and friend carers are identified, supported, heard and know their rights this Carers Rights Day and beyond

It’s important people who provide unpaid care or support to someone close to them due to illness, a disability, frailty or addiction, know their rights, wherever theyCarers Rights Day logo are in their caring journey. This Carers Rights Day (Thursday 23rd November 2023) and beyond, we want to help raise awareness about how we at Carers in Hertfordshire and other services are there to ensure carers are identified, informed, supported and heard.

This year’s theme is ‘Your rights: today, tomorrow and in the future’ to highlight carers’ rights currently and due to come into force. Whether in the workplace or education, in accessing health or social care, when interacting with other professionals or at home and the upcoming right for unpaid carers a right to request up to five days unpaid leave a year to care for a dependant they look after.

Whether you are a new carer or have been looking after someone for a while, why not find out about your rights and the support available to you? One way we support carers is by organising workshops and events to enable you to meet other carers and have a break from caring, to pick up tips to help them in their caring role or talk to MPs and people from organisations that pay for or provide health and community services.

We have a range of activities taking place on Carers Rights Day, which include:
• Our Annual Event for Carers in Hatfield, 10am – 3.20pm. Carers attending can take part in workshops such as one focused on meditation, another on benefits and one about legal matters. There will also be information stands so carers can talk to people from various organisations that provide services for unpaid carers or the people they look after.
• A Legal Planning Workshop online, 1pm – 2.30pm. Solicitor Gemma Young, from Setfords Solicitors, will provide information about wills and Lasting Power of Attorney.
• An evening talk about Direct Payments online for people who provide unpaid care or help to an adult close to them that has a physical or learning disability or an autism spectrum condition. The session will cover what Direct Payments are, who is eligible for them, how they can be used and the benefits and drawbacks of them.

We have also arranged for a small group of carers from the Harpenden and Hitchin area to meet with their local MP Bim Afalomi on Friday 24th November 2023, to discuss any caring related issues they face and general challenges and matters they want to raise.

A charity spokesperson said: “Around 9% of people in England and Wales are providing unpaid care or help to a partner, relative or friend, and it is vital they feel confident to know where to turn to for help when they need it and to challenge things when their rights are not being met. We are there throughout the year to ensure carers in Hertfordshire are supported and don’t feel they have to care alone!”

If you are in Hertfordshire who provide unpaid care to someone or you live elsewhere and look after someone in the county, we are there for you. Contact us by emailing contact@carersinherts.org.uk or call 01992 58 69 69. Details of these events and our upcoming courses and workshops are on our Events page and you may be able to book to attend if there is still space.

National charity Carers UK, which co-ordinates Carers Rights Day, has some useful information related to a range of carers’ rights. Visit www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/guides-and-tools/looking-after-someone-guide or get in touch by emailing advice@carersuk.org or calling 0808 808 7777 (9am – 6pm Monday to Friday).