A new joint strategy to improve support for the borough’s carers has been developed by Croydon Council, the local NHS, residents and community groups.
Discounts for young carers and a stronger local support network for carers are among planned improvements in the new strategy, which is being discussed at next Monday’s cabinet meeting.
The strategy was also developed with Croydon carers partnership group, which is formed of a number of third sector partners, the NHS, council, and carers in Croydon.
Around 33,600 people – 10% of Croydon’s population – are carers, and around 30% of these are estimated to have done this for more than 20 years, with most aged 45-64.
To help inform the new strategy, the council and CCG carried out a survey of local carers’ wellbeing. Over 70% of respondents said they felt tired, 60% had experienced stress and difficulty sleeping, and 24% had developed health conditions of their own since becoming a carer.
The new strategy, drawn up by the council and Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) following a series of workshops involving over 100 carers and professionals, includes:
• Creating an online carers’ network
• Discounts for young carers, including free swimming and a “young carer card”
• A review of respite care
• Training the private and public sectors to identify and support carers among their workforce
• Careers support for young carers leaving full-time education
• Develop the council’s online directory of services available to carers
Carers already receive council-funded help in a number of ways, including a befriending service for the over-65s, short breaks, information and advice at the Carers Support Centre on George Street, emergency respite care, and counselling and support for young carers.
“Every day carers of all ages and personal circumstances do an incredible job looking after vulnerable loved ones, and often this takes its toll on their own wellbeing.
“This plan is not just about focusing on keeping Croydon carers healthy, but also about offering them a better quality of life through a wider support network and financial help, particularly for young carers.“
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care