The Carers Charter, put together by Herefordshire Carers Support, is a set of standards that organisations who sign up to the Charter are expected to meet.
About 20 per cent of the population rely on some kind of care and Herefordshire has around 38,000 carers who provide this care. Day in and day out, they provide much needed support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without their help.
The charter is about recognising and respecting the role of carers and making sure their needs are understood and met. For example, standards listed include the right to be provided with jargon free information about services, to have a voice at all levels in decisions likely to effect them and to have their needs assessed, understood and taken into consideration when services are being planned. The standards also focus on carers’ health and wellbeing recognising that they need to have a choice of short breaks and respite care.
The charter also focuses on the rights of young carers, pledging to make sure children and young people retain the right to be children as well as carers.
“Care comes first and I come second,” said Valerie Fitch, full time carer who helped write the charter. “Signing up to the standards and making sure services work to these standards, means carers like me can be supported and helped to continue looking after the people we care for”.
Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Carers are the backbone of our society and provide essential support and care. They help people in need retain dignity and independence, yet carers’ own needs are often ignored because they are so busy in their caring roles.
“Signing up to the Carers Charter means that as an employer we are recognising the needs of carers and will support them in their role.
“We want to make sure that all public service planning embraces the needs of our very valuable carer community.”