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Government launches scheme to help carers balance work and life

A scheme using smartphones, email alerts and pop-up care centres to help carers balance care with work is being trialled by the government.

A series of pilot projects around the country, launched today, will test various measures to help carers plan and co-ordinate formal and informal support.

The nine pilot areas will explore how technology can be combined with professional support from the local authority, and the assistance of friends, neighbours and Time Bank volunteers to ease the pressure on carers.

For example, one pilot will monitor cared for adults by telephone every day at an agreed time, then contact the carer by email or text to confirm that the person does not need assistance.

Pilots will also explore how businesses can give employees with caring responsibilities more help, for example by promoting flexible working patterns and setting up carer ‘surgeries’. One pilot will establish a pop-up business school to help carers become self-employed.

The nine pilot sites will be North Tyneside, Northamptonshire, Cheshire West, Gateshead, Bury, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Stoke, and Sefton.

The initiative has been launched by care and support minister Norman Lamb and minister for women and equalities Nicky Morgan.

Morgan said the pilot projects are designed to test how “pressure can be eased and allow people to balance their caring responsibilities with their jobs and families”.

Carers who feel forced to leave their jobs are a real loss to the workforce and economy. We want to give people the peace of mind about their loved ones that helps them keep their jobs,” she said.