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Birmingham Carer Speaks Out On Cost-of-living Crisis

Anne Barnes from Birmingham supports her adult son Andrew and knows first hand the demands of being an unpaid Parent Carer. Anne is no stranger to the challenges that many Carers up and down the country face but the additional strain on finances caused by the cost-of-living crisis has been an extra strain on daily life.

In a recently interview with BBC Midlands Today about the cost-of-living crisis, Anne explained that the biggest factors affecting her finances are fuel expenses – the cost of petrol and home energy costs. Andrew is dependent on lots of electrical disability aids, such as his bed, hoist and standing frame, these all need to be charged so it is not possible to make any adjustments to reduce electricity bills.

Anne said, “Birmingham Carers Hub has provided lots of useful information to support carers through the cost-of-living crisis, it’s well worth contacting them for help and advice.”

Anna Smith, Executive Manager at Forward Carers (the service that manages Birmingham Carers Hub)said,

“Despite the challenges that Birmingham City Council faces, our commissioners have continued to fund Birmingham Carers Hub and prioritise Carers. We’ve recently worked with the council and DWP to distribute nearly £1 million worth of household support funding to Birmingham Carers.

“The council recognises the significant challenges Carers face and values their contribution. By providing all round support to Carers via Birmingham Carers Hub, it helps them to continue in their caring role and keep families together for longer.”

Anne emphasised the value of being self-aware,

“I think it’s really important for someone to recognise that they are a Carer, that they are doing tasks beyond that of other mothers, daughters, partners, and that there is support out there. You could even be providing unpaid care to someone outside of your family home, such as a friend or neighbour, which would still mean you can access support.”

According to Carers UK, it takes Carers an average of two years to acknowledge their role as a Carer. Anna confirmed that there are around 90,000 Carers in Birmingham, but just over 20,000 Carers have formally registered with the Birmingham Carers Hub service.

Anna said, “The more people who recognise that they are a Carer and register with our free service, the more people we can support with financial advice, support groups and wellbeing activities such as free tai chi and yoga.”

“It’s wonderful that we have this support in place but there is still work to be done, we would like to see more funding for health and social care and more respite so Carers can take time-out and feel confident leaving the person they care for.”

The programme will air on Wednesday 3 April on BBC Midlands Today.

To speak to an advisor from Birmingham Carers Hub, call 0333 006 9711, or email info@birminghamcarershub.org.uk. To register, complete this online form and an advisor will be in contact with you if that is what you have requested.