Children as young as eight caring for loved ones in Hartlepool - and they need more support
Children as young as eight are looking after relatives in need in Hartlepool – and there are calls to ensure they get the support they need.
Councillors have urged the importance of providing respite to carers in Hartlepool who provide a service equivalent to ‘a second NHS’.
It came as Hartlepool Borough Council adult and community based services endorsed the carers strategy for the town.
National figures estimate 1 in 10 of the population are carers, and almost three quarters of carers in the UK suffer from mental ill health due to their caring role.
Danielle Swainston, council assistant director for joint commissioning, noted they will never know exactly how many carers are in the area, with many not classing themselves as a carer.
She added it was more important that everyone is aware of the role carers play and provide support to them in any way they can.
Coun Carl Richardson said: “There are hundreds if not thousands of people in Hartlepool who don’t consider themselves carers but do the job nonetheless.
“I’ve seen so many people when they’re in their 60s still looking after their parents and they can’t even cope themselves.
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“They won’t ask for help because they’re too proud.
“We need to make those people aware of the services that are available.”
Coun Stephen Thomas said: “The sort of figures nationally is something equivalent to the value of the NHS, unpaid care is like a second NHS in this country.
“We have people as young as eight who are providing care for relatives in their family home and it has massive implications on the lives of those people.
“One area for me which should be in there is around respite, I think respite for carers is very very important, particularity given some of those strains on individuals health and well-being.”
Council officers added a report on respite for carers would be coming to committee in the coming months.
Committee chair Coun Sue Little said: “I take my hat off to all carers in the town, they save the local authority a lot of money, and they need to know that when they need help, we signpost them to the right places.”