This week in parliament, I have been active in supporting Carers Week 2019, running from the 10th-16th June 2019.
Carers Week is a national awareness week that celebrates and recognises the vital contribution made by those caring unpaid for someone living with an illness, disability, mental health condition or as they grow older. Research released for Carers Week suggests there could be many more people than previously thought acting as unpaid carers to their family and friends – as many as 8.8 million adult carers across the UK.
On Monday, I attended an event in Parliament to celebrate the valuable contribution carers make locally. On the following Wednesday, I met Tracey Hawkins (pictured above) in Westminster, the head of Sandwell Young Carers, a local charity which has done excellent work in my constituency and the surrounding areas in supporting children who have been required to take on caring responsibilities for a family member.
Carers Week provides us with an excellent opportunity to celebrate the immense sacrifice that carers, both young and old, make in order to support their loved ones. But it is also a chance to reflect on what more can be done to ensure they get the support they need from government.
The seven charities driving Carers Week 2019 are calling on individuals, organisations and services throughout the country to improve the lives of carers by getting carers connected to practical and financial support, and are calling for a step change in the way society supports those caring unpaid for family and friends. I have been active on the issue of carers in the past, and will continue to do all I can to ensure that we have a policy framework that recognises their needs in future.