Carers UK have released a report  highlighting the importance of regular breaks for carers and carers’ experiences of breaks. We are currently running our Time for Carers Appeal to raise £30,000 that will be used exclusively fund breaks for carers because we recognise the importance of regular time out.

The report showed that only 8% of carers felt they had been able to take sufficient breaks, 39% had been able to take a break but would have liked to take more and 46% had not been able to take any breaks. 8% had been able to take a break but didn’t want to.

When carers who hadn’t been able to take a break were asked what they would do with some time if they had it, 63% said they would take part in hobbies and leisure activities, 52% said they would spend time with other family and friends, 50% would catch up on sleep, 37% would complete practice tasks, such as housework and 33% would attend their own medical appointments.

Among the barriers to taking a break, 40% said the person they care for is unwilling to accept replacement care, 38% cannot afford replacement care, 34% were unable to afford any activities to do during the free time, 25% didn’t want strangers looking after the person they care for and 22% said there was a lack of availability of replacement care for the complex needs of the person they care for.

Time off to take part in activities for themselves is something many can take for granted. Carers are often on call all the time, don’t get a full night’s sleep and don’t have time to get the basics done, such as housework, or to spend valuable time with family and friends. Time out is so important for health and wellbeing and regular breaks are proven to reduce the risk of a carer reaching crisis point.

Time for Carers has already raised almost £10,000 thanks to generous donations from local businesses, groups, organisations and individuals. We hope to have raised the full amount by spring next year, which will enable us to fund breaks for those in need of them.