A CHARITY has called for greater visibility and value given to unpaid carers during this year's Carers Week.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the need for all carers has been greater than ever and public gratitude has been shown through such initiatives as ‘clap for carers’.

CEO of the The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove Tom Lambert feels that the term ‘carer’ is now associated with paid care home and NHS workers, rather than unpaid family and friends who care for others.

He said: “It’s really important to acknowledge the amazing work of NHS and care home staff throughout the pandemic, but it does leave unpaid family and friend carers a bit forgotten about.”

Throughout the last year it has been reported that three in four unpaid carers have worked consistently without a break, unable to rely on the relief services provided by charities like Toms, such as respite periods and organised activities.

Many carers are said to have been reluctant to put greater pressure on the NHS during the pandemic by asking for medical assistance, as well as losing professional assistance from staff who could no longer enter their homes.

The Carers Centre has provided virtual help to carers in need of support over the last year and in some cases it has been easier to reach people but some were unable to take advantage of the virtual assistance due to their at home circumstances.

Brighton MP Caroline Lucas is a patron of The Carers Centre, she believes the social care system has reached breaking point in the last year, she said: “As a matter of urgency, the government should be providing more funding for unpaid carers.

“That means paying them a real living wage, ensuring they have annual leave, and importantly recognising the vital role they play in our society.”

Tom reiterated her call for greater funding and asking for greater awareness for unpaid carers with specific awareness training for all social care and health staff when they start their jobs.

For more information about how to support unpaid carers and events taking place for Carers Week 2021 see carersweek.org