Discount care to give carers a little help

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Carers across East Sussex are going to benefit from a discount card after a successful trial in Eastbourne.

East Sussex County Council has teamed up with the locally-based Care for the Carers charity to try and ease the burden on some of the 51,000 estimated carers looking after a loved one in the area.

And part of the new approach is the launch of the authority’s news Carers Card, which will be given to people who care for a friend or relative and provide them with access to a range of discounts in local shops and leisure facilities throughout East Sussex.

The idea was tried out in Eastbourne and having looked at its success, the county council agreed to introduce it in neighbouring towns to coincide with a nationwide awareness day.

Jennifer Twist, of Care for the Carers, welcomed the move. She said, “Carers Rights Day aims to raise awareness of carers, the huge contribution they make to society and of their rights.

“As the economy continues to struggle and we face cuts in benefits and services, we hope that this scheme will boost recognition of unpaid carers, while enabling participating businesses to offer savings and special offers to carers.”

The card is open to carers living anywhere in East Sussex, and accessed by having a review from a council officer to show they provide regular unpaid support to an adult. The assessment will also provides information on carers’ rights and the support they are entitled to.

All types of businesses are signed up to the scheme so far, including care services, fitness centres, tea rooms, garden centres, electricians, plumbers and a host of others. A list of the businesses taking part is available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk and at www.cftc.org.uk.

Care for the Carers is now trying to encourage more shops and leisure venues to sign up and offer discounts to carers and the charity is keen to hear from any businesses who would like to sign up.

More information on getting involved is available by emailing info@cftc.org.uk or calling 01323 738390, while anyone who wants to find out whether or not they qualify for the Carers Card should call the county council’s adult social care team on 0345 60 80 191 or email socialcaredirect@eastsussex.gov.uk.

Experts estimate that the country’s army of carers save the government tens of millions of pounds each year by providing the vital support which would otherwise need to be supplied by the state.