Letters - March 31, 2014

Carers Centre - Michelle Smith, chief officer Blackpool Carers' Centre
Carers Centre - Michelle Smith, chief officer Blackpool Carers' Centre
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Blackpool carers centre

Vital role

Over the last few months much has been written about the role of ‘carers’– those who provide care in a paid capacity ‘care support workers’ and those who care unpaid for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support ‘carers’.

There is a clear difference between these two types of roles and Blackpool Carers’ Centre, a Carers’ Trust Network Partner, which supports unpaid carers, feels that it is very important to make that distinction.

Today there are seven million carers providing unpaid care to a family member, neighbour or friend in need – many thousands of them here on the Fylde coast.

Unpaid carers save the economy in excess of £119bn every year and often bridge a gap that health and social care departments cannot fill because of staffing and financial constraints.

Every day unpaid carers provide help and support to people that the state is unable to provide, keeping people out of our very busy hospitals, out of care homes and as far as is possible helping to maintain their independence in their own home.

But there is a price to be paid for this, and it is too often the unpaid carer who pays it with in many cases severe financial consequences and an impact on their own health and wellbeing.

Recent features in the national press and on TV about, for example, 15 minute social care calls and zero hours contracts are only symptoms of the real underlying problems.

While they highlight the fact that paid for carers are struggling to cope with delivering care to the volume of people that require help and support, the stories do not address the underlying issue of a system which cannot cope and is becoming increasingly dependent on the UK’s seven million unpaid carers – and services such as our’s which exist to support those unpaid carers of all ages, from very young to elderly.

Without unpaid carers the system would simply not be able to cope and they need support.

Michelle Smith

Chief Officer

Blackpool Carers Centre

London sucks in money

Play fair

I read with interest today that London’s £14bn Crossrail system is to be extended to Reading.

That means commuters from the Berkshire town can get to Canary Wharf in an hour.

Great idea and nice to see infrastructure spending on something useful.

But it staggers me to realise just how much of Britain’s taxpayers’ money gets sucked into the capital.

They are also getting a billion pound Gateway port with giant cranes from China, and of course they will get either an extended airport or third London airport and then there is HS2.

HS2 will just suck more commerce and jobs into the London black hole as it makes it quick and easy for people in the Midlands Manchester and Merseyside to pop down for a day’s work.

What about the rest of the North?

How about NOT taking away our train carriages to run on lines in the South East?

How about developing some 21st Century infrastructure up here?

How about decent road and rail connections between the West and East Coast?

Come on Government play fair.

L Atkinson

Lytham

European funding

For heritage

I agree wholeheartedly with the article on European membership by Brian Simpson, the North West MEP (Politically Correct March 26).

As a member of the Winter Gardens Trust, it is clear that due to lack of investment in the building from former private owners of the Winter Gardens, it could now be just a pile of rubble.

Thankfully the building was bought by Blackpool Council who were able to apply for European money to help towards refurbishment.

We do therefore gain enormously from Europe as Brian Simpson explains.

As a northern tourist town, we are not lavished by funding from central government to keep our heritage intact, so it is important that we remain in the E U now.

Keeping our heritage buildings intact is so important to jobs and industry, as well being proud of the past we need Europe to invest in our future.

From workers’ rights to funding many much needed community projects we need to remain in the European system, from which we in Blackpool have benefited from in many ways.

So voting on May 22 is vital to keep the faith with Europe to protect us and town from lack of investment elsewhere.

Marjorie Nye

Winter Gardens Trust member

Knowle Avenue

Blackpool

Brave firefighters

Life savers

The blaze in St Annes (Gazette March 28) brings home to us once more just how brave our firefighters are.

Without their swift actions who knows what tragic outcome this could have had.

C.Bolton

Marton