Over the last three years a ground-breaking Carers Trust project has supported over 150 unpaid carers from across London back into paid employment. The same project also worked with a further 600 carers, building their confidence and skills so they are better equipped to find a way back into work.
Caring responsibilities can cause social isolation and loneliness which makes it difficult for carers to maintain important social and work networks. Many of the carers receiving support from the Working for Carers project had become socially isolated because of the need to stay at home to care for a family member.
The project, which is led by Carers Trust, is delivered at a local level across 33 London boroughs by carer centres in Harrow, Redbridge, Lewisham and Camden. At each of the four hubs, specialist advisers work closely with adult carers to build their confidence so they can start to think about getting back to work. All too often they have no idea how or where to start looking for work. The free service also offers one-to-one support, training opportunities and help with job searching – from help with writing CVs to preparing for interviews.
Unpaid carers and employment – facts and figures
The number of people across the UK with an unpaid caring responsibility is rising. It’s estimated that there will be 9 million unpaid carers in the UK by 2037. The replacement value of the care already provided by carers for family members is an estimated £132 billion per year – equivalent to the cost of providing a second NHS. Many of them provide long hours of care every week, This can make finding, keeping and progressing within a job extremely challenging. Research shows that in the UK 600 people are giving up work every day to find time to care for a relative. The impact of this is clear to see in London. According to a Carers Trust survey, 68% of unpaid carers in London are unemployed.
Successful evaluation of first phase of the project
A first phase of the project from October 2016 to September 2019 has been independently evaluated by the specialist research and consulting company, Ecorys. Their report, published today, concludes that “Overall, the findings of the evaluation, accounting for both qualitative and quantitative data, is positive.” It also finds that the data “suggests that carers have made good progress in moving towards employment and other outcomes.”
The evaluation found that the project had been particularly successful in reaching carers from ethnic minority communities with 64% of participants coming from London’s BAME communities. The project has also been successful in engaging older carers with 46% of all carers registered on the project being over 50.
An additional £1,737,444 from its funders – the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund – has now been made available. The money means the project has been extended for a further three years up to September 2022, with hundreds more unpaid carers across London set to benefit from this vital support.