Residents who act as a carer for a loved one can now access a special fund set up to help them enjoy a reasonable quality of life themselves, including a break from their unpaid caring role.
The new Carers' Living Well Fund will be launched on Wednesday, 1st November, and will be available until March 31st 2018. It will enable people who care for others to access financial help for a range of activities, including a break from their caring role to improve their health and wellbeing.
There will be exclusions for a number of activities and more personal financial commitments or where social care or health service funding applies.
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health, said: "Many of us will become carers within our families over our lifetime, perhaps caring for our parents or our spouse. There are many young carers who think nothing of looking after a parent or sibling as part of their family life.
"These unpaid carers – often referred to as hidden carers – can spend up to 20 hours a week looking after a loved one, sometimes with personal care, shopping, dressing and household chores.
"The Carers' Living Well Fund is about helping carers to enjoy a good 'work and home life balance', avoiding the risk of jeopardising their own health and wellbeing. Supporting carers to enable them to meet their own needs is a key focus for health and social care partners, including Cheshire East Council.
"Often their support goes unpaid and, without help and support for themselves, they can feel a sense of isolation – that life can be a struggle with physical and emotional demands."
A grant from the Carers' Living Well Fund is a one-off payment, limited to one payment per household, where the eligibility criteria have been met. It can be made at two levels - £250 or £500.
Families and organisations working with carers – hidden carers especially – are asked to identify them and signpost them towards the financial and help services available to them. This includes carers who have never accessed statutory or voluntary support, in particular carers who are new to their caring role.
As well as agreeing to an informal review, carers will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
· That they are an unpaid carer or manage a budget for the person they care for;
· That they live in the geographical boundary of Cheshire East Council or are registered with a GP practice in the NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG or NHS South Cheshire CCG areas.
There is a maximum of one grant per household or cared-for person and young carers, under the age of 18, should have a bank or building society account or agree to the grant being held by a parent or guardian.
For more information about the Carers' Living Well Fund and how to apply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health.