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15 June 2017
There are an estimated 40,000 carers in Bedfordshire. As a professional, working for Carers in Bedfordshire now for two years, I am in regular contact with carers, as well as being a carer myself. I see the struggle many go through on a daily basis both financially and with their own health. For carers, trying to balance the demands of their own life as well as the needs of someone else can be exhausting. To care for someone to the best of your ability, you have to look after your own health; easier said than done!
Taking time off, a break for a day or two somewhere nice, or even learning something new, can make a major difference. And the Carers’ Grants scheme, one of the services Carers in Bedfordshire runs, can help with that.
Carers in Bedfordshire administer Carers Grants on behalf of NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) to unpaid carers, who provide substantial care. The grant can be used for a whole host of things such as paying for a day trip, gym membership, stress relieving therapies, or training that will improve carers’ health and wellbeing. I have seen the real difference receiving a grant has made to many people.
To apply for a grant a person must be registered with Carers in Bedfordshire and with a GP surgery that is part of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG). They must be a carer who has a long term health condition or whose health or wellbeing is affected by their caring role. Applicant carers can be young/sibling carers aged 4 years and above, who provide substantial, unpaid care (excluding benefits) to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour.
If you are interested in applying for a carers grant, more information can be found on the Carers in Bedfordshire website or on the BCCG website.
Carers in Bedfordshire is a local charity which supports unpaid family carers of all ages to cope with the emotional and physical stresses arising from their caring role. Founded by Yvonne Clark back in 2005, the organisation was established as a support group for unpaid carers.
Since its foundation, the organisation has steadily grown and now has over 40 staff members (60% of whom are carers or former carers themselves) and over 100 volunteers in offices all across Bedfordshire, including, Bedford, Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard as well as Carers Lounges in Bedford and Luton & Dunstable Hospitals.