Paid-for services demand at carers' support organisation rocket since social care squeeze
PUBLISHED: 18:32 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:32 31 January 2018
Norfolk Family Carers
An organisation which supports carers in Norfolk has seen the demand for its paid-for services rocket since it lost its council funding last year.
Norfolk Family Carers said it was forced to charge for some of the support it offers, and some staff had cut their hours and pay, since the decision last autumn.
But the uptake and need for their services was high - with no sign of slowing down.
Family care adviser Julie Izzard is sandwich carer - someone who cares for both their parents and their children.
And she experienced the rewards and challenges of caring as well as what can be done to make life easier.
She said: “We’ve been able to help many people who have found themselves, for whatever reason, needing flexible support quickly. Recently I went to the home of an 87-year-old carer in Caister who needed help to fill out a 45-page attendance allowance form .”
This was to apply for a benefit for those aged 65 and over who have a severe disability and need help with personal care.
Ms Izzard said: “The carer wasn’t able to complete the form himself and was so grateful for the quick service we could offer which meant the benefit funds arrived promptly.
“We’ve also heard from several people up and down the country who care for an older relative in Norfolk after we launched our Caring at a Distance programme. It’s a situation lots of people find themselves in - no longer living near a relative who is becoming increasingly frail. “
Norfolk Family Carers is also reaching out to local employers in a bid to support working carers. Ms Izzard said she knows all too well the difference it can make if an employer understands what it means to be a carer.
She said: “Only last week I had to leave work as my dad was rushed to hospital. Norfolk Family Carers by its nature is supportive to me as a carer and understands the disruption it can cause to my working life. However, not everyone is as fortunate and we’d like to change that.”
The charity said it has “thought long and hard” about what it can offer above services provided by the council.
And they found the current squeeze on social care meant there was real demand for a flexible, paid-for support which can be delivered quickly and tailored to an individual’s needs.
All profits from the fee-based services are reinvested into charitable work.