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North East councils to deploy platform to support unpaid carers


Mark Say Managing Editor

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A grouping of local authorities in the North East of England is to roll out the use of a digital platform to support unpaid carers.

They are beginning to use the platform provided by Mobilise, an online community of carers, under an agreement with the region’s branch of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care that will initially run for two years.

The councils taking part in the initiative are: South Tyneside, Northumberland, County Durham, Cumberland, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Hartlepool, North Tyneside, Gateshead and Darlington. 

Features of the platform include access to an online peer community of carers, tailor made support guides on issues such as balancing caring with work, and information on carers’ rights and relevant social care law.

Mobilise said it will also help to identify and connect with people in the area who have caring responsibilities but have not previously accessed support.

Additional support

Erik Scollay, strategic director of adult social care and health integration at Middlesbrough Council, said: "We are delighted to welcome Mobilise to the North East and are looking forward to working closely with them to roll out a new, additional layer of support to unpaid carers across the region.

“Thanks to this new partnership, we will be able to do even more to connect with this vital community and ensure everyone caring for a relative or loved one has access to the tools, information and support they need, when they need it." 

Mobilise said the North East has the largest proportion of people in the UK who are unpaid carers at over 10% of the population.

It added that it is already reaching tens of thousands of unpaid carers using targeted digital campaigns.

Stigma factor

Suzanne Bourne, head of carer support at Mobilise, commented: “It’s impossible to calculate a reliable figure on the number of unpaid carers in the UK. Persistent stigma can mean many do not feel comfortable identifying with the label.

“Meanwhile, a lack of public awareness means some of us do not even realise that the vital care and support we’re giving to a loved one might qualify us as a carer. Thousands of people delivering unpaid care remain hidden from official data, as a result. 

“More worryingly, this can stop them from accessing crucial support and advice. 80% of the carers we currently support at Mobilise had not previously sought or received help anywhere else.

“We’re determined to break the stigma around caring and raise awareness to ensure that everyone managing caring responsibilities feels seen, acknowledged and supported in their vital roles.”

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