new Action Plan for carers in Reading, as part of national Carer's Rights Day. This plan details real commitments to carers made by Reading Borough Council, NHS Berkshire West, the Princess Royal Trust Carers' Service, Crossroads and JobCentrePlus. It has been developed by members of the Reading Carers Steering Group which includes local carers and it is an excellent example of co-production. It calls on local agencies to do more to support carers and help carers live happier, healthier lives.A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to attend the launch of the
I never cease to be amazed by the work done by thousands of selfless carers in our community.
The Council estimates there are around 11,000 carers in Reading - across all age ranges and backgrounds.The Council recently surveyed local carers. The survey revealed that more than 2,000 people spend more than 50 hours a week caring for someone close to them. More than 900 carers responded to the consultation and told the Council about their priorities. They said they wanted short respite breaks, access to on-call emergency assistance, advice in looking after their own health and general well-being, and to ensure new and existing carers had access to information and guidance on support and services.
It is now up to the Council and other local agencies to listen to local carers and do more to ensure the support they need is available in the community. As I explained a couple of weeks ago our plans to transform community care in Reading (currently out to public consultation) include plans to improve the support available carers, as well as promoting the independence of carers via direct payments and personal budgets.
We really do owe our local carers a debt of gratitude for the work they do week in, week out, which is why I am pleased that nationally the Coalition has placed carers at the heart of it's plans to improve social care services. I am particularly pleased that the Lib Dem manifesto commitment to provide guaranteed respite care for carers is now being implemented in government by Lib Dem Minister, Paul Burstow MP. This commitment to providing more support to carers was underlined recently when the Coalition published it's Vision for Social Care.
If you or a member of your family live in Reading and have caring responsibilities please visit the dedicated carers page on the Council's website which sets out the services which are there to help support you.
Finally, don't take my word for it - watch this video clip to see Paul Burstow MP talking about his committment to carers: