New partnership announced to support unpaid carers in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council and BSW ICB has announced a new partnership to support unpaid carers in the county.

Wiltshire has thousands of people who provide help as an unpaid carer to those needing additional support. The council and the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB) have a role to ensure those people are provided with respite, support, and opportunities to network with other unpaid carers.

The council has announced Age UK Wiltshire is working in a consortium with Community First, Alzheimer’s Support, Wiltshire Service Users Network, Citizens Advice Wiltshire and Wessex Community Action and many more charities, which is called Carers Together Wiltshire and will provide respite, and a range of support to adult unpaid carers from the age of 18. This will include training, carer cafes and awareness raising in the community for unpaid carers. They will also work closely with Wiltshire Council to continue conducting carer’s assessments.

Community First has been awarded the contract for younger adult and young carers from ages 5 – 25, focusing on support in primary schools and supporting Wiltshire Council with their work with secondary schools and colleges, understanding their rights and what support is available to them and giving them opportunities to carry on doing the things they enjoy – whilst also teaching them key life skills as they grow up.

Both providers will work together to support carers aged 18 – 25 and family support including parent carers. There is also investment in online support so carers can access training, chats, helpful guides and support at any time.

There will continue to be a Wiltshire Carer Card which will provide unpaid carers with ID as a carer and record emergency contact details. This will be available as a physical card and a digital app for people’s smartphone, if preferred. Unpaid carers can continue to use the emergency card they already have while they wait for the new card. The new providers will also continue to work closely with hospitals to ensure unpaid carers are supported. Assessments for unpaid carers will continue as normal.

From 1 April Carer Support Wiltshire will continue to run its services independently of the council including carer cafés, the Hear to Talk service, family support and activities, carer wellbeing workshops, young carer activities, carer grants and their Bereavement Help Points.

The unpaid carers contract is jointly funded by Wiltshire Council and BSW ICB.

Clare O’Farrell, Deputy Place Director at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board said: “Unpaid carers play an absolutely crucial role across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire by providing physical, practical and emotional help to those they care for and it is essential that they receive the recognition and support they need. This new partnership with Age UK Wiltshire and Community First will provide first class support to children and adult carers across Wiltshire and provide the resources they need to continue to support those they care for.”

Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Our unpaid carers pay a high price for looking after those they care for, day in day out. They make sacrifices and put other people’s needs first. We want our unpaid carers to feel supported to be able to enjoy life and achieve their goals and ambitions while they are caring. We want to ensure those people have opportunities to have a break, have support for the person they are caring for and also have access to the many opportunities available to them and a network of peers and those who can help.

“Our new contract recognises the many younger people who fit caring into attending school and doing homework, or those younger adults who are just making plans for their futures while caring for someone. We are ensuring the face-to-face support continues but also there will be online help 24/7 so unpaid carers know they are not alone and they have a network to reach out to.

“We want to also thank Carer Support Wiltshire for the valuable work they have carried out with our unpaid carers over the years and wish them well in the good work they continue to do across the southwest.”