Later this month a range of charities will promote National Carers Week 2012, a week of events highlighting the importance of carers to our society.
This theme of this year’s campaign, which runs from 18-24 June, is ‘in sickness and in health’ and will focus on the health and wellbeing of carers.
The campaign highlights that many carers carry out their role to their own detriment, very often experiencing ill health and the effects of poverty.
According to Carers Scotland, around three quarters of carers say their health is worse because of their caring responsibilities and the same proportion struggle to pay utility bills. More than half of carers are cutting back on food and heating to make ends meet.
Across Scotland unpaid carers play a vital role providing essential care and support to people whose lives are seriously affected by illness or disability. Research by the charity Carers UK estimates that 1 in 8 people in Scotland are carers and that the work they do saves the Scottish economy £10.3bn a year.
As someone who was a young carer, I have taken a great interest in supporting carers issues. I currently serve as co-convener of the Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Carers and have recently added my support to a motion lodged by my colleague John Pentland welcoming Carers Week 2012.
I will continue to work to promote greater recognition of carers, and particularly young carers, to ensure that they receive the support that they require and deserve.