Central Bedfordshire Council sign

Central Bedfordshire Council is keen for feedback from unpaid carers and those who receive care as it launches a consultation on its new Adult Carers Strategy for the next five years.

It said the strategy outlines how the it will support unpaid carers caring for family, friends and neighbours living in Central Bedfordshire.

Estimates suggest that there are around 30,000 unpaid carers in Central Bedfordshire – around 10 per cent of the local population – providing care for a few hours a day, a few days a week or around the clock.

This has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Carers UK reporting that 81% of carers across the UK are providing more care than before lockdown.

The Council’s new Adult Carers Strategy contains four priorities the Council hopes to put in place over the next five years to ensure unpaid carers:

  1. Are offered more appropriate information, advice and support, and are given opportunities to share their views and to help to shape local services
  2. Have the opportunity to have a family and community life that includes things of interest to them alongside their caring role
  3. Remain emotionally and physically well
  4. Receive training to enable them to support their cared for person better

It was developed with input from Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG), carers and voluntary and community organisations that deliver services and help represent the views of people they support.

Cllr Carole Hegley, executive member for adult social care, said:

“The support and contribution of unpaid carers to those they care for is incredibly valuable – in some cases, carers selflessly put their lives on hold to offer support.

“Our strategy outlines how we will continue to support unpaid carers, the measures that are already in place and what more we will put in place to achieve this.

“We are keen to hear from as many people as possible on our strategy, so the consultation is open for 14 weeks until March 2022.
“In particular we’d like to hear from people who provide care and whose lives are impacted by their caring responsibilities, and those who receive care.

“Your views are incredibly important to us, so I’d urge as many people as possible to give feedback over the next 14 weeks.”

The consultation document and the consultation questionnaire are available online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations. The consultation is open until 3 March 2022.