Unpaid care and poverty: unpaid carers' priorities for change through participatory co-design
The Carers Co-design Project is a joint piece of work between JRF and London Unemployed Strategies (LUS) to co-design policy recommendations that address poverty and/or its related issues facing unpaid carers. These recommendations are evidence based, credible and underpinned by the voices of people with lived experience.
Co-designers told us that they felt care – both unpaid and paid – was undervalued in our society. This manifests itself through a range of everyday challenges for unpaid carers and the people they care for. To address these issues, the Government should:
- Ensure that local authorities have enough resources, with ring-fenced funding, so they can better provide direct support payments to unpaid carers and respite care provision that is accessible at short notice, high quality, culturally appropriate and supports people who are neurodiverse and have mental health conditions.
- Financially support grassroots services and peer support groups that provide practical support for carers at the local level. We can learn from initiatives like the Encouraging and Supporting Grassroots Activity Fund, a partnership with the Scottish Government and Age Scotland, which awards grants to smaller, grassroots groups that provide community-led support for people affected by dementia.
- Properly subsidise care services for individuals. This would give existing unpaid carers and people who receive care the ability to effectively choose who provides that care, through properly funded care packages and support for both the person receiving support and the unpaid carer. Carers would have a genuine choice over whether to care for their loved one or not.