Armstrong calls for support for a New Deal for Unpaid Carers

Alliance Communities Spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has called for support for the New Deal for Unpaid Carers launched today.

Communities Kellie Armstrong carers

The report, co-produced with unpaid carers confirms a series of recommendations that will support and assist carers through the Health and Social Care system. It will improve the health and well-being of all carers and address the poverty and financial hardship carers face. Making it easier for carers to juggle work and their caring role, helping to meet housing needs.
Kellie, who is a carer congratulated Carers NI for publishing this important piece of work saying “for carers, this report puts into words, in a clear and staggering way, how the systems in NI need to change to support the work of unpaid Carers. For years carers have been calling for support. Now we have a document that I will be encouraging all political parties and departments to put into action. For far too long unpaid carers have been ignored. Their pleas for help pushed aside. Enough is enough. There are over 220,000 people providing unpaid care for a sick or disabled family member or friend across NI. That’s 1 in 8 people providing care 365 days a year. Together, these carers save the public purse billions of pounds in care costs per year, without which the local Health and Social Care System would collapse”.
“The contribution they make is truly immense, but for too many, the support they get in return falls far short of what they need to keep themselves well and enjoy the opportunities many of us take for granted”.
“Carers should not be driven to breaking point by unrelenting caring duties, with few opportunities for a break and patchy support from statutory services. Carers should not be pushed into poverty by sky-high caring costs, barriers to employment and inadequate social security provision. Carers should not be forced to stay in unsuitable or substandard living conditions while waiting years for appropriate housing. Carers should not be expected to struggle by as a largely forgotten and invisible population who are expected to do so much yet are helped so little in return”.
“It's been two decades since the last Carers Strategy for Northern Ireland. It is long past time for a new strategic direction for unpaid carers in NI. This New Deal for Unpaid Carers report has been codesigned with over 240 unpaid carers and seeks to help fill this policy development gap.
“Providing comprehensive support for unpaid carers will not be quick, easy or without cost. But, it is time that we made a start and finally began to treat unpaid carers as a strategic priority for government and wider society in Northern Ireland”. 
“If all parties say they support unpaid carers then it is time they demonstrated that commitment and ensured the recommendations contained in this report are built into each department’s work plans and policy priorities”.