Carers in Wales are more likely than anywhere else in Britain to have flexible arrangements with employers.
The 2005 Carers Survey revealed that 84 per cent of carers in paid employment in Wales have flexible working arrangements with their employers, this being the highest for Britain; the average is 70 per cent.
However, concerns have been raised that these figures may not represent the true amount as many people find that the stigma attached to being a carer for someone who is mentally ill does not allow them to confide in anyone, and as such, they suffer alone.
“I found it hard to talk about what I was going through with my friends, even some of my family. I just struggled along. It wasn’t until I joined a befriending and support group that I was really able to talk to someone,” said one carer in Wales.
The survey also revealed some worrying statistics. 64 per cent of surveyed Welsh carers believe that caring has affected their career, with 34 per cent having used their annual leave to cope with caring responsibilities.
Paul Matz, Carers Week Manager, said: “The fact that so many carers have to use annual leave to carry out their caring roles is also very worrying. Every carer deserves the opportunity to have a fulfilling life of their own – whether through work, study or leisure activities, and they need the right support and help to be able to do that.”
Carers Week, running this week (13 – 19 June), will highlight the needs and lives of carers around the whole country with events being organised in all areas. To find out what is happening in your area see the Carers Week Website.