“LET’S make caring visible” was the call from Lee Waters this week, as he thanked carers across the constituency for their above and beyond dedication.

“As a carer myself, I know that lockdown has been particularly tough. Getting out more has helped but the lack of connection with people has been a struggle for us all, most of all those who have extra responsibilities for people who vulnerable in different ways” Lee said.

Surveys from Carers Week show that as many as 683,000 people in Wales are involved in unpaid care work for family and friends. According to the survey, managing stress and not being able to take time away from the role were the key challenges facing people, with many anxious about burning out due to the additional pressures of Coronavirus.

Speaking of the Welsh Government’s response to these challenges, Lee Waters said:

“Carers of all ages are managing unprecedented demands on their mental health, and their emotional resilience is vital to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society. Whether it’s preparing a few meals a week or providing round the clock emotional and skilled support, the burden of responsibility can feel incredibly daunting and lonely for carers.”

“That’s why we have announced an additional £50,000 of funding for improved professional and peer support, ensuring more carers can access the help and mutual networks they need in these difficult times.”

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During the pandemic, Mr Waters has been tasked with delivering the Welsh Government’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) operation. Acknowledging the concerns of unpaid carers, Llanelli’s Member of the Senedd promised that new guidance would be published shortly as to how and when PPE could be accessed and used.

Assessing the broader impact of Coronavirus on caring, Lee said:

“I was moved to clap for carers every Thursday, and I want that greater recognition to stick around for good in our communities. Nearly a quarter of the working-age population in Wales are currently juggling unpaid care with other work commitments, and this pandemic has magnified the extent to which this is not sustainable in the long-term. We can definitely expect a frank discussion over policy and funding once we are through the worst of this outbreak.”

Next week, Mr Waters will be listening to the experiences of local carers from Carmarthenshire’s Crossroads network, with a catch-up on Zoom.

Tonight (Fri 19 Jun) lee Waters will be doing a live Q&A on Facebook live at 8pm. You can watch and ask questions here: https://www.facebook.com/leeforllanelli

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