The carers’ movement began five decades ago, and since then there has been a gradual but gathering recognition of the important role carers play.

    In 1999, the government published its national carers strategy, setting out the information, support and care carers are entitled to. In February 2007, the government announced a “wide ranging review” of that strategy as part of a broader package of support for carers, and a few months later it promised a standing commission on carers to oversee the new strategy and its implementation and to ensure carers’ voices are heard in the corridors of Whitehall.

    In the summer, Community Care readers and visitors to told us that a better deal for carers was one of their top priorities for extra funding, a higher profile, and political attention. A closer look reveals that improving the lot of carers will also require a concerted and co-ordinated effort at every level, a fresh approach to doing things, and legislation.

    With publication of the revised strategy pencilled in for March 2008, time is of the essence. Carers charity Carers UK is determined that the 2008 strategy will lead to real improvement for the UK’s six million carers – and Community Care has teamed up with the charity to produce a carers special issue, which was published on December 6 2007. All of the articles that appeared in that issue can be accessed below, along with additional web-only features.

    Caring for a child with learning disabilities: a parent’s concerns about the future

    Where has the money gone? Alex Fox at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers looks at how local authorities are spending the carers grant

    Timothy Cook looks back on five decades of the carers’ movement

    Survey: Happy and excited despite heavy caring commitment

    Young Carers: Full survey

    Young Carers: Expert Comment

    Stroke victims’ carers liable to stress illness

    Ivan Lewis on the ‘new deal for carers’

    Gwenda Thomas: carers’ champion for Wales

    Carers policies: the contradictions

    Support for young carers

    Research abstracts: young carers

    Ed Balls on barriers for disabled children’s parents

    Young carers: Genefer Sales’ story

    Carers of disabled children and direct payments

    Charities’ bid to influence the new national carers strategy

    Jane Campbell: coalition of carers and disability groups is needed

    ‘How we can ensure that caring is recognised as much as work’

    Support for carers in Scotland: the Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project in Edinburgh

    The economics behind the new deal for carers




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