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Ali Rogan, our External Affairs Director, discusses the importance of Carers Rights Day.

After a long day in London, I spent a really enjoyable couple of hours at the Carers Rights Day Reception in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

Carers UK have been championing carer’s rights for a very long time and this event marked the launch of Carers Rights Day with the theme: Looking after someone? Know your rights.

Paul Burstow MP opened the event and was fully supportive of the Care Act which makes the wellbeing of carers matter just as much as the person they are caring for.

Information is power…

As Helena Herklotts, Chief Executive of Carers UK said “Information is power. But rights are only useful if you know about them.” So the newly launched Carers Rights Guide is a must read for all of us who care out there.

She also described that there are a fantastic 1,000 carer’s organisations taking part all across the UK with drama groups, fashion shows, stands in hospitals, and even an information coach called Basil (Benefits, Advice, Support, Information and Lots more) doing the rounds. She thanked everyone for their amazing support to spread the word.

There are 3 million people out there who are juggling work with caring responsibilities. Sainsbury’s employ around 160,000 people, have around 24 million customers and sponsor the Carers Right Day. Their vision is to ensure Sainsbury’s is the most trusted retailer where people love to work and shop.

One of their colleagues went on to give a really honest and heartfelt speech about her family and her work. About six years ago her little boy was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 which means he will never be able to walk. Today a very bright and lively seven year old, he whizzes around the playground in his bright red wheelchair and is a star at wheelchair football.

She described that no one tells you about having to manage the 20-30 agencies involved in her son’s care – “the invisible full time caring job” soon makes you an expert at multi-skilled juggling. She had to leave her demanding job at Channel 4 and then, after a short time, she was offered a job at Sainsbury’s who were in full knowledge of her caring responsibilities. The flexibility and support she receives is superb but sadly this is not as widespread as it should be.

I’ve heard many stories from a wide range of people who care, from the surprise at what types of support are out there, to the gratitude of those who have relied on devices such as door or epilepsy sensors for a number of years to help them live their lives.

Let’s help Carers UK spread the word about carer’s rights as widely as possible!

Find out more about Carers Rights Day

Read new research by Carers UK on how 10.6 million people will take on a caring role for relatives and friends over the next five years.

Get involved on Twitter using #CarersRightsDay