A CHARTER to support the army of adult carers in Hampshire has been launched, in what has become the first of its kind in the country.

The legislation, developed with voluntary organisations, sets out a series of commitments for how Hampshire County Council and the NHS will work with carers to support them.

The Hampshire Joint Carers Strategy outlines how health and social care professionals, alongside the voluntary sector, will work together to:

  • Identify and recognise people who are looking after someone in their community, to ensure that they are aware of the support available to them;

  • Support carers’ physical health and emotional wellbeing;

  • Help carers to have a life alongside caring;

  • Support young adult carers aged under 25;

  • Reach out to ‘seldom heard’ carers, such as Travellers or carers in rural communities.

Cllr Liz Fairhurst, adult social care and health head for the authority, said: “There are an estimated 133,000 carers currently in Hampshire, making a huge contribution to our communities by helping to care for those who need support.

“We recognise that carers frequently put the needs of the person they care for before their own, often placing their own health and wellbeing at risk.

“As many people with caring responsibilities see themselves as simply ‘helping out a loved one’, carers often don’t know about, or actively seek the carer support that is available to them.

“The charter recognises the important role undertaken by the county’s many carers and makes clear how we will support them in their role.”

The Hampshire Joint Carers Strategy itself outlines how health and social care professionals, alongside the voluntary sector, will work together to support those looking after others.

Ros Hartley, director of partnerships for Hampshire and Isle of Wight CCG Partnership, said: “Many people care for family members and because they can see it as their duty to their loved one, they do not always think to ask for anything to help themselves, or they put their own health needs last.

“This can lead to them suffering physical or mental health problems themselves. We want all carers in Hampshire to know what support and advice is available to them and to be able to access that support, so they can remain fit and healthy. The healthier the carer, the better the quality of care they can provide.”

County social services bosses say the strategy will be reviewed and updated when needed to reflect the needs of the county’s carers as they change.