La­nark­shire cen­tre per­forms a key role

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News -

Last week I had the plea­sure of be­ing in­vited to the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of La­nark­shire Car­ers Cen­tre.

I have worked with the cen­tre on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions and I know they pro­vide an ex­cel­lent ser­vice lo­cally, but it was brilliant to hear the va­ri­ety of ser­vices they of­fer and per­sonal sto­ries about how their help can change lives.

I heard tales of car­ers in their 60s and 70s learn­ing to ride bikes as that had been a long-held am­bi­tion and one which came with not just the ben­e­fit of hav­ing an­other form of trans­port to use, but also the added bonus of ex­er­cise, con­fi­dence and, most of all, fun.

It may seem triv­ial to some peo­ple, but that so­cial out­let is so im­por­tant for peo­ple with some­times chal­leng­ing car­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

There are also the se­ri­ous and oc­ca­sion­ally heartwrench­ing tales of peo­ple strug­gling to get by on a pen­sion or ben­e­fit who were put off ap­ply­ing for things like Car­ers Al­lowance be­cause they thought that it would change what they al­ready re­ceived.

One such cou­ple were at their wits’ end. The lady had se­ri­ous health prob­lems and when her hus­band was di­ag­nosed with de­men­tia, she be­came his carer.

Their only in­come was ba­sic State Pen­sion and they had not ap­plied for any other as­sis­tance as they thought it would leave them worse off.

In des­per­a­tion, she called the car­ers cen­tre and had a meet­ing with a carer sup­port worker who helped them to ap­ply for Car­ers Al­lowance, coun­cil tax re­duc­tions and rent help.

All in all, the cen­tre helped them to the tune of an ex­tra £1000 per month.

Al­though this out­come doesn’t hap­pen for every­one, there is usu­ally al­ways some­thing that can be done to help a carer, no mat­ter the cri­sis.

With­out this ser­vice, many peo­ple in La­nark­shire would be strug­gling fi­nan­cially, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally with their un­sung role as carer and now, due to a change in pol­icy at North La­nark­shire Coun­cil, the Air­drie Car­ers Cen­tre could be fac­ing a cri­sis of its own.

From April next year, the right to pro­vide such ser­vices is to go out to in­vited ten­der. The ac­tual de­tails of the ten­der are not yet known and for or­gan­i­sa­tions like La­nark­shire Car­ers Cen­tre, this has put plans for fu­ture ser­vices in flux.

I hope the coun­cil will come to a speedy de­ci­sion to en­sure lo­cal car­ers can still ac­cess vi­tal sup­port, and those who are em­ployed by, and vol­un­teer for, La­nark­shire Car­ers Cen­tre are given cer­tainty soon.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is em­bark­ing on a jour­ney to en­shrine the rights of car­ers in law for the first time and to ex­pand the sup­port they should be en­ti­tled to.

I hope that, along­side that, the likes of the lo­cal La­nark­shire Car­ers Cen­tre can con­tinue their ex­cel­lent work and ex­pand to meet the needs of car­ers in this area.

Should any­one have ques­tions re­gard­ing car­ing for a loved one, or feel they need ex­tra sup­port, please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact La­nark­shire Car­ers Cen­tre Air­drie on 01236 755550 or email info@ la­nark­shire­car­erscen­ uk.

With­out this ser­vice, many peo­ple in La­nark­shire would be strug­gling fi­nan­cially, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally

Cru­cial sup­port La­nark­shire Car­ers Cen­tre pro­vides an “ex­cel­lent ser­vice”

Im­por­tant meet­ing The cen­tre’s AGM

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