Grants awarded in 2016: Caring for Carers

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.

Projects awarded funding

The Bupa UK Foundation has awarded £250,000 to 12 projects to help carers manage and improve their health and wellbeing. These projects will support carers 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.

Hearts & Minds: Caring Elderflowers
Improving the communication skills of those caring for people with dementia through innovative workshops in Scotland.

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.

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.

How caring can impact health

The Carers UK State of Caring Report 2015 highlights the impact caring can have on people's health. Of the 4,500 carers surveyed:
  • The vast majority (82%) reported that caring has had a negative impact on their own health.
  • 84% said they felt more stressed and 78% more anxious as a result of their caring role.
  • More than half (55%) reported that they have suffered from depression.
  • Nearly half (47%) said they struggle to maintain a balanced diet.
  • Four in ten (41%) have experienced an injury or their physical health has suffered.