Carers could soon be using smartphones and email to help balance work, education and leisure with their caring responsibilities.
North Tyneside is one of nine areas in the country awarded £147,800 government funding for a two-year project to test out new ways of reaching people struggling to juggle work requirements and caring needs.
The project will explore how technology can be combined with professional support from the independent charity North Tyneside Carers’ Centre, the council and an informal networks of friends, neighbours and volunteers to ease the pressure of caring.
Coun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member responsible for adult social care, said: “This excellent project will help improve the lives of many carers by supporting them at work and offering emotional and practical advice to enable them to balance their caring responsibilities with their jobs and families.”
In North Tyneside, the latest figures show that 22,000 people provide unpaid care for family and loved ones.
This caring responsibility can seriously impact on their ability to access and progress with training, education and employment opportunities.
An online survey carried out by North Tyneside Carers’ Centre with carers in work, highlighted that 87 per cent of people questioned said they had not accessed support to help them with work and employment issues.
In North Tyneside the pilot will:
• support local employers to help them to understand the business benefits of supporting carers in the workplace and implement carer friendly policies;
• work with local employers and carers employed within their organisations, to provide information, advice and practical support and also test out new and innovative ways of using assistive technology, which will enable carers to continue to remain in paid work;
• work with a targeted range of employers to develop ways to identify and engage with carers in the workplace, by offering practical and sustainable ways to help carers stay in work and maintain health, wellbeing and productivity;
• improve carers’ lives by meeting their need for information, services and emotional/ practical support and also test out new and innovative ways of using assistive technology, which will enable carers to continue to remain in paid work.