Carers and young carers charter for the unsung heroes who care for family, friends and neighbours

Published: Friday, February 3, 2023

Across Wandsworth, around 20,000 people provide unpaid care for their partner, family, friend or a neighbour. Making sure that all of these unsung heroes get the support they need and deserve is a key priority for this Council’s administration.

To achieve this,

  • A Carers and young carers charter will be developed by the council with the NHS and voluntary sector, and most importantly, based on the views of local carers.
  • This will ensure that unpaid carers are at the heart of decision-making, so they continue to get the best possible support and help in their caring role.
  • The Charter will also make sure that carers get access to support that is so needed, for example, to help make ends meet, in the face of an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis.

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Councillor Graeme Henderson, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health,
“We’re determined to ensure that each and every resident who cares for someone - whether that’s a partner, a son or daughter or their neighbour – gets the right support.

“Times are tough at the moment, with huge pressure on household bills and finances, so it’s important – now more than ever - that all residents, including those who face additional caring responsibilities, get the help they need.”

Councillor Kate Stock, Cabinet Member for Children added,“Equally important is the commitment we make to our young carers.“Children and young people, who care for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, find it hard to cope, must be properly supported. “Too often these extra responsibilities mean missing out on school and time with friends, something we want avoid so they can live their best lives and reach their full potential.”

The aim of the charter is to build on the work that the council already does to support unpaid workers.

What we have achieved already
The Wandsworth Carers Centre, commissioned by the Council, provides a range of support and advice for carers across the whole borough including:

  • Information advice and advocacy including benefits and housing
  • One-to-one support and peer support including for specialist areas like dementia, substance misuse and learning disabilities
  • Counselling
  • Back care, including osteopathy and massage
  • Respite and short breaks
  • Training for carers and professionals.

 A great deal of work has already been done by the Council’s Adult Social Care service, over the past few years to continually improve the service we offer:

  • More staff across the whole council have been trained as Carers Champions, to help support carers.
  • The distribution of Carers Emergency Cards has been increased by 250%, which means that in an emergency, support is in place.
  • The number of carers assessments completed has seen a year-on-year improvement in recent years, a great achievement in light of the pandemic.

Next steps – the Carers and young carers charter

The Carers and young carers charter will further strengthen this work, as well as addressing issues identified by HealthWatch Wandsworth, in research carried out last year, to look at the experiences of unpaid carers across the borough.

The research found that the additional pressure following the hospital admission of a loved one can lead to significant mental and physical fatigue for carers, especially if the carer isn’t involved in decision-making after leaving hospital. The report also found that young people with caring responsibilities should get the support they need.

Here are just some of the areas, the new charter will focus on, which will evolve as the views of carers input into this,

  • Making sure all council staff value carers as an equal partner and expert in providing care, as well as decision-making about that care.
  • Representation on local health boards, so carers can help make decisions at the highest levels.
  • Access to social care and health services, that are responsive and effective, especially after a hospital visit.
  • Continued access to breaks from caring responsibilities for carers.
  • Support for young people with caring responsibilities.
  • Mental health and wellbeing support.
  • Support with the cost-of-living crisis.

Carers who want to get involved in shaping this work can email the Wandsworth Carers Centre at