Swansea Carers Get Millions To Carry On Caring

Swansea Carers’ Centre, a local charity backed by Swansea Council, helped carers and their families gain 1.25 million pounds in vital welfare benefits last year.

One carer said, “My husband has had a severe and enduring mental illness for the last thirty years and throughout the time I have been searching for some support and help.

“It is only in the last three years that I have found this support from the Carers’ Centre which has in turn enabled me to carry on caring.”

Since it opened in the mid 1990s, more than £8 million in welfare benefits have been gained by Swansea Carers Centre on behalf of carers and their families.

This is one highlight in an annual report which reveals how thousands of carers and their families benefited from another successful year at Swansea Carers Centre.

The centre, with Swansea Council as its major funder, has more than 7,000 carers registered with it – and in 2007 to 2008 1,262 carers accessed one or more of its services.

Swansea Council Cabinet member for Social Services Cllr Wendy Fitzgerald said: “Swansea Council is proud to be a major funding provider to the carers centre. Carers are getting excellent support in return.

“We will continue to work with the Carers Centre and its dedicated team in the coming year in an effort to develop the range of services available to Swansea’s secret army of carers who provide wonderful care to hundreds of residents.”

Swansea Carers Centre aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people who look after family, partners or friends in need because they are ill, frail or have a disability.

It supports and provides information to all carers of those with an illness or disability including learning disability, mental health problems, physical disability, dementia and other long term limiting illnesses.

While Swansea Council Social Services funds much of its core work, additional funding comes from Compact, Strategy for Older People, Supporting People, The Big Lottery Fund, WCVA Mental Health small grants scheme, Swansea Community Chest and Soroptimist International of Swansea as well as donations.

This year’s annual report reveals that in 2007 to 2008 the Swansea Council backed centre:

Gained £1.25 million in welfare benefits on behalf of carers and their families – many of whom have been previously unfairly turned down.

Responded to 7,800 telephone enquiries.

56 volunteers provided 4,798 hours of support across our projects .

Provided 348 counselling appointments benefiting 109 carers.
Provided 17,062 hours of respite care through the Home Sitting and Day Care service.

Enabled 78 carers to benefit from 131 IT training sessions.

Comments from carers about the centre include: “Whilst my wife was at day care I attended a basic computer course and have learned how to word-process, email, surf the internet and shop.

“It was all a bit daunting at first, but the tutors who taught me were patient and encouraging and I was able to work at my own pace. Oh! By the way I’m just 80!”

Executive Director Shirley Bowen said: “With the financial backing of the local authority and other funders, our committed team of staff, volunteers and trustees are committed to making a positive difference to carers’ lives.

“We are delighted to have done this again this year, and are looking forward to developing our services further in 2008/09.”

Anyone who would like to contact the Swansea Carers Centre can call 01792 653344, drop in to the centre at 104 Mansel Street or e-mail [email protected]