Cabinet approves carers strategy for Barking and Dagenham

A four-year action plan to help and support the thousands of unpaid carers in Barking and Dagenham was approved last night.

The Carers Strategy 2011-15, brought before the council’s cabinet members at Dagenham’s Civic Centre, aims to help carers lead a normal a life as possible and make sure they feel supported in their role.

According to the report, almost one-in-10 residents – more than 10,000 people – in the borough care for a family member, friend or neighbour. Out of these, around 2,600 are registered for support and advice, it said.

The strategy looks at how the borough can best deal with the expected increase in carers as the life expectancy of people rises.

The key priorities of the plan include encouraging flexible working opportunities for carers and ensuring they have the best possible financial support. It also highlights the importance of making carers aware of the different support services available, in particular different respite options.

Another focus is making sure carers stay healthy. This, the report said, will be done by regularly reviewing the training on offer to carers and ensuring they have access to leisure and community activities.

The plans also talk about improving the support carers receive in hospitals and GP surgeries.