As many as one in eight employees in the Bradford District are believed to be juggling work with the added day-to-day pressures of caring for a loved one, according to the Shipley-based charity Carers’ Resource.
And, as the district readies itself to mark Carers’ Week (June 10 – 17) and its theme “Prepared to Care”, one of the country’s biggest unions, the GMB, urged employers to make it easier for people to combine work with their caring roles.
Figures reveal that the “tipping point” had now arrived where there is more unpaid family carers that actual paid care providers – and an ageing population will only serve to widen the gap.
Now the charity’s team of specialists is poised to unveil a new project this Thursday (June 13) which is designed to help businesses give improved support to existing and new carers in the workplace.
Called CReate – Carers’ Resource employment advice and training enterprises – the initiative also aims to provide a growing number of unpaid family carers with a tailored package of support. This will equip them with the opportunities, skills and confidence to go back to work, embark on a new training or learning programme, or become a volunteer.
Stella Elson, manager of the charity’s Shipley office, said:
“Taking on caring responsibilities can happen without warning and to any of us. You are suddenly faced with great emotional and physical stress whilst trying to maintain your job.
“We want to work with employers to give them a better insight into how to identify carers in their workplace and, with our guidance, how they can support them into becoming the UK’s most ‘carer friendly’.”
The charity, who has supported more than 15,000 carers, aims to help business in a range of ways – from training for managers to recognise carers; to reviewing company polices to enhance practice; to discounted smartphone technology that links the carer at work to the ‘cared for’ at home.
It estimates around 90 per cent of working age carers are aged 30-plus and, at this time in their careers, they have many years experience, training and skills.
“There is no shortage of talent among the pool of carers in Bradford and Airedale and we want companies in our community to be able to retain and recruit these skills.
“We want to help them to avoid the risk of losing a valuable member of staff and picking up the cost in time and money of finding and training a replacement – as much as £7,500 according to research.”
For carers attending, they can access a range of activities and experts to help the journey back into employment. These are spearheaded by a skills market where carers can match their expertise with opportunities available.
It also includes on-the-spot help with CV writing; image consultant Denise Griffiths; life coach Lucy Sheridan; a job recruitment drive by the charity Crossroads; volunteering opportunities; JobCentre representatives; plus information about all aspects of caring.
For businesses, there will be a free seminar exploring ways in which the needs of carers can be balanced with the needs for business for double benefit.
- The launch of the new project takes place at the Mercure Bradford, Bankfield Hotel free from 11am to 1pm on Thursday June 13. For more information or to book a place – either as a business or a carer – please call 01274 449660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch and refreshments are provided. Carers are encouraged rto bring along theri CVs.