Our commitment to carers. If not now? When?

Julie Doyle, 08 June 2020

One of the positives to have emerged from challenging circumstances we’ve faced in the last three months is a genuine heartfelt appreciation for carers.

The weekly clap for carers was a fantastic celebration of gratitude but it must be followed by tangible change.

That is why social housing organisations across the country have joined together, supported by Carers UK, Inside Housing and our founding partner Harry’s Pals, to make a renewed commitment to carers, called Harry’s Pledge.

Harry is my grandson. He’s five years old and lives near to me in Northamptonshire. His mum, my daughter Hayley, runs Harry’s Pals, a trust that supports parents caring for children with disabilities.

After he was born, there was quite a lot of physical help for Harry but no support for his parents. You're facing the grief of devastating news, fearing the future and your mental health is all over the place. It’s absolutely heart-breaking.

Launched during National Carers Week, Harry’s Pledge is asking the housing sector to support those who need care and those who provide, it in the following four ways:

  • Being supportive employers to people that have caring responsibilities
  • Making offices and community spaces as accessible as possible
  • Building more fully-accessible homes
  • Further professionalising and promoting care as a career, and lobbying for changes in pay and rewards for carers.

Care isn’t just about care homes, so many people have care needs. People are living longer and with more complex health conditions and we need to think about the support we provide in a much more holistic way.

Many organisations will have carers working for them whose lives would be easier if different practices were adopted. There is also a lot we can do to ensure our properties are accessible for disabled people and that they support carers.

A lot of this isn't rocket science. It’s eminently achievable and inexpensive, we just need to see things through a different lens and change our philosophy.

Now is the time. We’ll never have a better opportunity to make this commitment to carers and make a positive difference to so many people across the country.

If you’d like to support the campaign by signing up to Harry’s Pledge or would like to find out more, please visit harrys-pledge.org.uk or follow @HarrysPledge on Twitter.

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