THE number of people providing unpaid care for disabled, sick or elderly relatives and loved ones continues to rise.
In order to meet this challenge, Thurrock Council has appointed a new organisation to provide support, information and advice to local carers.
Three voluntary sector organisations are coming together as Cariads – Carers Information and Advice Service – to support carers aged 18 and over in Thurrock.
They are Thurrock Mind, Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions CIC and the Thurrock Centre for Independent Living. Together, they have extensive community networks and a detailed knowledge of local services and local carers.
There are around 14,600 carers in Thurrock according to the 2011 Census, yet just a fraction of these are known to the council.
Cariads will identify more carers and provide them with help and advice and there will be drop-in centres throughout the borough.
The service will compliment existing support currently run from the Carers Centre in Cromwell Road, Grays, such as respite services and specialist support groups.
Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: “Carers play an invaluable role in our society, but caring can take its toll, leading to feelings of stress, exhaustion and isolation.
“This new modernised service recognises the huge contribution carers make.
“By identifying more carers and providing the personalised support they need, we can help to improve their quality of life both as a carer and in their life outside of caring.”
He added: “Cariads will help local carers to have a real influence over how their services look in the future and will have a key role in helping under represented carer groups that we are just not reaching at present.”