Carers have told us that they’re struggling to shop for those they care for during the current coronavirus crisis. Shopping slots have been allocated to those who are elderly or vulnerable, but not to those who care for them. We have sent the following letter to Wiltshire’s MPs, asking them to help unpaid carers at this difficult time.

Highlighting the importance of unpaid carers during Covid-19

We are writing to highlight the importance of supporting unpaid carers during the unprecedented times that Covid-19 is presenting us with. We would like your support to urge Government to require supermarkets and other shops selling essential items to extend any hour(s) and online shopping delivery slots that they are dedicating to the elderly and NHS workers to include unpaid carers.

It is estimated that at least 10% of Wiltshire’s population* are classed as unpaid carers. Many are extremely limited in the time that they can spend away from their loved one, and many themselves are also deemed ‘at-risk’.  You may have heard the story on the Today programme (26/3/20) of the 68 year old unpaid carer who is unable to take advantage of the vulnerable shopping slots as he doesn’t meet the current criteria. He is therefore at risk of taking the disease back into his home where he is caring for two vulnerable people.

The Wiltshire Parent Carer Council has highlighted the plight of parent carers who are struggling to keep their vulnerable children and young people safe, and yet experiencing barriers to being able to meet their children’s most basic needs. Some parent carers are reporting that they are terrified and distraught as a result of the significant challenges they are experiencing in not being able to shop for basic essentials because of the restricted times they are able to shop. We are increasingly hearing similar stories from carers locally who are unable to get essential supplies for themselves and the person they care for. We urgently need to make sure the voice of hidden unpaid carers is heard and acted upon.

Carer Support Wiltshire and the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council would urge you to ask Ministers to consider demanding that retailers include unpaid carers in their ‘protected’ hours of opening, during this very difficult time. If you would like further information, please get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Judy Walker

CEO Carer Support Wiltshire

Stuart Hall

Strategic Director, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council

* Source: Census 2011