Friday, 16 September 2011
The Masonic Samaritan Fund provides much-needed support for unpaid carers

In 2001, the Census included, for the first time, a question on the provision of unpaid care. It revealed that 11 percent of the UK’s population provides unpaid care to someone who is ill, frail or disabled. When the results of the 2011 Census are available, this number is expected to be even higher.

Most carers do not get significant help from the formal care system – trying instead to manage as best they can on their own. Many say that caring can be very rewarding, but the costs can be considerable. One in five carers gives up work to care; carers are twice as likely to suffer ill health as those not providing care; and many struggle to make ends meet.

Since 2005, the Masonic Samaritan Fund has been supporting eligible applicants by offering grants towards the cost of providing respite, enabling carers to take a rest while their loved one is looked after. To date, more than £1 million has been awarded, funding short breaks – a few hours, a fews days, or as much as a fortnight – within suitable care homes or day-centres, or providing help in the carer’s own home.

Confidential advice on eligibility and the application process is available direct from the Fund. It will also advise on local-authority support, in particular Community Care Assessments (for the person being cared for), and Carer’s Assessments. If you are caring for a loved one and would like advice on how to access support, please contact the Fund.

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