Caring for Carers funding programme

Across the UK around 7 million people are unpaid carers, supporting a family member or friend who is older, disabled or seriously ill. It is likely that the majority of people will take on caring responsibilities at some point in their lives.  According to Carers UK, around 1.3 million older people care for others in later life and in the workplace around 1 in 9 people is likely to have caring responsibilities.

Unpaid carers are often under significant pressure and many find that caring can take its toll on their own health, which is why the Bupa UK Foundation has focused on helping unpaid adult carers to support, manage and improve their own health.

How caring can impact health

The Carers UK State of Caring Report 2019 highlights the impact caring can have on people's health:Research undertaken for Carers Week 2019 revealed that 

  • 81% of carers report having felt isolated as a result of their carers role, and that
  • 81% of carers are not able to do as much physical exercise as they would like to do.
  • The research also revealed that carers placed their anxiety levels at 5.4 out of 10, compared to a population average of 2.9, and that
  • Carers placed their level of happiness at 4.7 out of 10, compared to a population average of 7.5.
  • In addition, the GP Patient Survey 2018 found that carers are more likely to report having a long-term condition - 61% of carers, compared to 50% of non-carers.

Projects awarded funding

Since 2016 the Bupa UK Foundation has awarded over £715,000 to 26 projects to help carers manage and improve their health and wellbeing by:

  • Piloting and extending new interventions and services
  • Supporting the health and wellbeing of carers through exercise, diet and nutrition
  • Creating communities for mutual support
  • Improving support for carers in the workplace

Piloting and extending new interventions and services

Carers Northumberland: Carers Clinics
Working with GP surgeries in Northumberland with a particular focus on engaging hidden carers and increasing awareness amongst practice staff.

Carers UK: Digital Resources for Carers
Evaluating the impact of digital resources on the health and wellbeing of specific groups of carers, with a further grant awarded in 2018 for the development of two e-learning resources for carers - one focusing on mental health, the other focusing on physical health.

Hearts & Minds: Caring Elderflowers
Improving the communication skills of those caring for people with dementia through innovative workshops in Scotland, with further funding awarded in 2018 to extend the service.

West Norfolk Carers: Mental Health and Wellbeing
Building independence, resilience and confidence amongst older carers with mindfulness and wellbeing support services.

Supporting carers' health and wellbeing

Age UK Enfield: Carers' Fitness Group
Enabling older carers in Enfield to access gentle exercise programmes to support active, fit and healthy lives.

Hillingdon Carers: Healthier Carers Project

Providing personalised physical exercise and weight management support to those who are unable to access current provision through one-to-one training sessions, telephone support and workshops.

Food Nation: Carers' Cooking Initiative

Providing cookery sessions to carers in Newcastle to teach cooking from scratch, with a particular focus on older male carers.

Creating communities for mutual support

Garden Organic: Thyme to Be

Delivering therapeutic gardening sessions to improve health and wellbeing by engaging a community of carers in the Coventry and Warwickshire area to grow, harvest and eat their own fresh fruit and vegetables.

Sinfonia Viva: Carers' Choir
Connecting and supporting carers in Derbyshire through a creative musical experience, culminating in several live performances. Further funding awarded in 2018 to test a choir for those caring for people with learning difficulties and their carers and to train a network of musicians and choir leaders to work with carers.

Improving support for carers in the workplace

Action for Family Carers: Wellbeing at Work
Working with local employers in Essex to better support working carers, giving them access to forums, support workers and health and wellbeing sessions.

The Dove Service: Carers in Employment

Supporting working carers in North Staffordshire with interventions to help them maintain a healthy work life balance.