Freemasons supports 33,000 unpaid carers with funding for essential items, counselling and breaks

QueenElizabethCourt_0145 Erica Hughes and Gwyneth Jones

A project set up by Freemasons is helping up to 33,000 adult, young and parent carers with donations of more than £715,000.

The funds will be used to support unpaid carers with essential items, life skills, counselling, crisis support, activities and breaks.

The news comes after research by Carers UK found that the number of carers grew exponentially during the pandemic, reaching more than 13 million.

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Now, around 20,000 unpaid carers are receiving access to support online, funded by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body of the Freemasons.

The UGLE is also working to protect young carers, who are under increasing pressure as they support family members during lockdown.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “These have been very difficult times for everyone and especially for carers. With the donations, we are helping with training, counselling, support, mental and physical health, as well as activities to reduce stress.

“We want to recognise the enormous contribution carers make to families and communities throughout the UK. They do their best because they want to make a difference and care deeply for their family members.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a greater onus on family carers to provide an ever-increasing proportion of care and support.

According to a survey by Just Group, half of people (46%) providing informal care for elderly family or friends say it has led to an increase in the number of hours they spend caring.

And Age UK found that 40% of informal carers aged 60 and over (900,000 carers) are providing more care since the start of the pandemic.

The charity says this cannot continue indefinitely, as piling pressure on “already stretched older carers” risks these caring arrangements breaking down completely.

Tags : Freemasonsunpaid carers
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke