Carers UK is a charity set up to help the 6.5 million people who care for family or friends, with around 18,500 members and 400 volunteers. It provides information and advice about caring, alongside practical and emotional support for carers.
The Carers UK online forum is a supportive online community of current and former unpaid family carers who understand the ups and downs of caring.
Carers UK’s research with the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness found that 32% of employees currently juggling work and care have felt lonely or isolated in the workplace because of their caring role57. Its business forum, Employers for Carers (EfC), helps over 130 employers to establish carer-friendly policies, helping to support the one in nine employees in the workplace caring for a family member.
Jacqui is a carer who reluctantly gave up work when she realised she could no longer continue to work and care for her son, who has Down’s Syndrome, autism and who is unable to speak. She says:
“I went days without speaking to anyone and the winter months were the worst. Eventually I was told by my GP that I had to go out every day for a loaf of bread but I didn’t understand why when a loaf would last us a week. Once I understood what the GP meant I began changing. I went out every day (well almost) so that I could speak to people.
I became involved in parent/carer groups, forums and joined Carers UK. I am now happier than I have ever been as I have various carers I can talk to or ask for support without feeling that I have to explain anything and everything to them.”
Consistent measurement of loneliness and the evidence on effective interventions. To tackle loneliness successfully, we need a deeper understanding of who is at highest risk and what is effective in preventing and reducing it. Part of the solution to this is to collect more data on loneliness and measure it more consistently.
In January 2018 the Prime Minister announced that government would work to develop indicators on loneliness that could be used in research studies with people of all ages. Government has consulted specialists from academia, service providers and its own internal experts, all with expertise in measurement or the study of loneliness.