Published 23rd November 2018
The Carers Charter was a prominent item on the agenda of Norfolk County Council’s meeting on 15th October 2018. William Armstrong, Independent Chair of the Charter spoke very eloquently about what he called ‘A New Deal for Carers.’
Mr Armstrong, who retired as Chair of Healthwatch Norfolk in June of this year, began by acknowledging the 100,000 carers in Norfolk, who he said care for their loved ones without reward or remuneration. These Norfolk carers (6000 of whom are young carers) are saving the economy approximately £2bn per annum.
William Armstrong went on to talk about the three key areas of the Charter.
Carers in Work
The Charter should help to make it easier for carers to carry on caring and working, it should be possible for carers to do both if that is what they choose.
Carers in Education
Children and Young People should be children and young people first. As Mr Armstrong said ‘We cannot allow them to be robbed of their childhood, of their youth.’ Their ambitions and aspirations should not be limited due to their caring role and schools must take this into account.
Carers in the Community
Carers have a right to a life outside caring and should be able to access respite as well as information, advice and support.
Mr Armstrong called on Norfolk County Council to fulfil their statutory responsibilities in light of the new Charter and to use their influence to ensure the principles are being used elsewhere.
William Armstrong’s powerful rhetoric concluded with this statement: ‘So we are boldly, emphatically, resolutely seeking a new deal for Carers. Not just reassurance but respect. Not just respect but recognition. Not just recognition but positive rights.’
To listen to the audio follow this link – the section on the Charter runs approximately from 00.11.00-00.18.00.