United for carers
Carers were given a chance to have their voices heard during a Carers Rights Day celebration at the Imperial Hotel.
The event, which was organised by Blackpool Carers Centre to coincide with its AGM, featured Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council, who opened the event followed by a question and answer session and moving speeches by local carers.
David Kirkbride, a carer for his wife who has secondary progressive MS, spoke movingly about having to stay up all the previous night to monitor his wife’s condition on a ventilator.
He outlined a job description for a typical unpaid carer and questioned why the carers’ allowance was just £1.85 an hour for a 35-hour week (less than a third of minimum wage).
Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: “We need more funding for mental health, proper pathways, and it’s about supporting carers.
“We don’t support carers for people with mental health enough.”
There was also a presentation by Paula Cruise from NHS England about the impact of caring on people’s lives of different ages and an animation about young carers called Out of the Woods.
Michelle Smith, chief executive of Blackpool Carers, said: “What we know is that the numbers of carers will continue to increase each year and we will continue to work with our families to build on their existing strengths, reduce dependency on services, keep the person they are caring for out of emergency services, keep families together and celebrate the amazing community that exists here.”