More than 8,000 people set to be helped by £7m County Council carers support scheme

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Carers support scheme Hampshire

A Hampshire-wide carers support service has been given the go-ahead, with more than 8,000 people set to be helped by the £7 million scheme.

From September 1st, the service will be established for up to five years, based on a three-year contract with the possibility of extending for two additional years.

There are currently two schemes which will be brought together to support carers aged 18 and above who look after adult(s) living in the county council’s area. This service would support around 8,000 carers per year.

The new service specifications will concentrate on carers and aim to create a county-wide carers support service under a single contracted provider, offering information, one-on-one support, and emergency planning.

The current contracts for the ‘carers support and dementia advisors service’ and the ‘carers emergency planning service’ expire on August 31st. 

These contracts have been in place since 2019 and are currently managed by two different providers. The plan is to re-procure the services based on updated specifications through a competitive tender process.

According to the 2021 Census, there are 111,739 carers in Hampshire. However, the Office for National Statistics suggests that the actual numbers may be higher than those reported in the Census. 

The Census also provides data on the hours of care provided. The number of carers in Hampshire providing 50 hours of care or more per week has risen compared to the previous Census, which is in line with the national trend of a rise in caring hours. 

In Hampshire, 16,545 reported carers provide 19 hours or less of care per week, and 31,284 carers offer 50 or more hours of care per week.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and public health, welcomed the plan and highlighted the emergency service that will be provided.

Councillor Fairhurst said: “This is a really vital service. Carers play such an important role. I picked up particularly on the fact of emergency planning because a lot of families’ carers do not have a plan in place if something goes wrong with the carer, and that can lead to a real breakdown.

“I’m delighted by this. We’re going out and finding more carers because, again, a lot of them are hidden. We don’t know them yet. The sooner we get to them, the sooner we can put in the support and make life easier.

Director of Adults’ Health and Care Graham Allen said: “We had a fantastic co-produced carers strategy, which included representation from all carers, representative groups of carers, and organisations. 

“There is a support service in existence already. This builds on that, but it’s absolutely vital for all of our residents and for our social care services that we absolutely advertise the support that is available to inform our carers because the thing that we hear all the time from people who care for loved ones is ‘I just want to have some support so I can carry on care for a loved one. I don’t want to reach the end of the line’, and this is crucial to do that.”

Photo: freepik.com

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