Petition highlights plight of carers

Sharon Hodgson MP, with members of the Sunderland Carers' Centre, left to right; Mark Foster, Diane Kirtley, Sarann Valentine and George Hardy.
Sharon Hodgson MP, with members of the Sunderland Carers' Centre, left to right; Mark Foster, Diane Kirtley, Sarann Valentine and George Hardy.
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AN army of Wearside’s unpaid carers is being urged to sign a petition to raise awareness of financial hardship.

The petition will be presented to 10 Downing Street and will call on the Government to recognise the huge sacrifice carers make while saving the city’s economy millions in health care costs.

Sunderland MPs Sharon Hodgson, Julie Elliott and Bridget Phillipson have backed the campaign.

Ms Hodgson said “Carers contribute so much – not only to the people they care for, but also in saving the Government billions in care costs.

“It was great to meet the carers today and to listen to their experiences and issues around poverty, which I will be taking back to Westminster with me.

“Public awareness and appreciation of the hidden army of carers has been steadily growing over the last few years, and in these tough economic times, it is vital that they get the support they need to carry on caring for their loved ones but also have quality of life for themselves.”

New estimates show the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives saves the economy a staggering £119billion every year.

Sarrann Valentine, development worker at Sunderland Carers’ Centre, said: “Changes to the benefits system and cuts in services are worrying for carers especially during these tough economic times.

“We not only wanted carers to sign this petition but we also wanted our elected representatives to hear about the real financial strain carers are under.

“For this reason we arranged for all three Sunderland MPs to meet some carer constituents and hear the real stories facing carers across Wearside.”

@SunechoKaty