Employment support available for friend and family carers

Friend and family carers in West Sussex can benefit from a free service that can help them access and sustain paid employment, after new figures revealed three-quarters worry about juggling work and care.i

The results of the Carers UK State of Caring survey 2022 also showed 65% of respondents had given up opportunities at work because of caring.ii

This is despite 65% of respondents either agreeing (41%) or strongly agreeing (24%) that work gives them a break from their caring role.ii

Supported Employment West Sussex (SEWS) has been commissioned by West Sussex County Council to help carers who want to return to employment and those already working alongside their caring commitments.

There are around 120,000 people across West Sussex who provide essential unpaid help and support to their family, friends or neighbours.iii In workplaces across the UK it is estimated that one employee in every seven provides care in addition to their workiv - and this figure is set to increase.v

Councillor Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults' Services, said: "It is extremely important that we support carers who are performing a vital role, often making countless sacrifices in their own lives to look after loved ones.

"Employment or working in a voluntary capacity can sometimes provide the opportunity to be part of the wider community and we want to help our residents continue with their caring commitments while achieving their own career goals.

"That is why we have commissioned support to help people discover more about suitable opportunities available to them that can fit in with their busy lives."

SEWS Employment Specialists are available to offer bespoke support that can help carers access and sustain paid employment in their local communities. There is a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and answers in relation to carers and employment which is available at www.supportedemploymentwestsussex.org. You can also contact the service directly by calling 01903 730044 or emailing workability@impact-initiatives.org.uk.

The service is being highlighted ahead of Carers Rights Day, which will this year be held on 24 November.

Carers Support West Sussex - a charity which works closely with West Sussex County Council - also has lots of useful tips on its website www.carerssupport.org.uk/carers-rights-day for employers who want to support staff members who also have caring responsibilities.

Sonia Mangan, Chief Executive of Carers Support West Sussex, said: "Many unpaid carers express a reluctance to discuss their personal situation with their employers and might be unaware of the support available to them. This is why as part of the Joint Carer Strategy in West Sussex we are appealing to employers to consider how they can support members of their workforce who may also have caring commitments."

The Carers Support West Sussex website www.carerssupport.org.uk/carers-rights-day also contains details of free online workshops and drop-in events that will take place during the week of Carers Rights Day, between 22 to 25 November. These cover topics including carers rights, benefits and wellbeing support. Visit the website to see the full schedule and booking details.