Supporting carers’ financial wellbeing: A Money Guiders blog with Carers First

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Being a carer can have a huge impact on many aspects of your life, including your financial wellbeing. Alison Pask, Relationship Manager on our Money Guiders programme, shares how Carers First supports those financial wellbeing needs, and how your organisation can support customers and employees who are carers.

How many carers are there?

It is estimated in the 2021 Census that across the UK there are 5 million people caring for a family member or friend who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. However, research by carer charities suggests the actual number may be even higher. According to Carers First, it is estimated that two in three people can expect to become a carer at some point in their lifetime.

Caring responsibilities can impact many aspects of a person’s life, including their financial wellbeing. Understanding and recognising those colleagues in your organisation who are navigating life as a carer is important, and we can help you support them. Extending that support to your customers and service users is also possible too.

How can caring affect financial wellbeing?

Carers may be adults caring for partners or aging parents, or children caring for their parents. Carers might also be supporting non-relatives too.

Caring can affect finances in a number of ways, particularly as caring is unpaid. Examples include:

  • having to reduce working hour
  • having to give up work altogether
  • increased expenses such as travel to medical appointments and increased utilities costs
  • using savings or pension to cover loss of income or increased expenses.

How you can support financial wellbeing for customers who are carers

Helping carers to access support and services that are available is essential. These can include a Carers Allowance or even respite care for the person they are caring for, giving the carer a chance to recharge.

MoneyHelper lists supports services available to carersOpens in a new window on their website in both English and Welsh.

MoneyHelper also has a guide to helping to manage the money of someone you’re caring forOpens in a new window

Who is the Money Guiders programme for?

If you talk to your customers or service users about money, our Money Guiders programme can help you to take your help for carers further.

The Money Guiders programme is for:

  • Anyone who provides any type of non-regulated money guidance to individuals or groups.
  • Anyone based in the UK across all four nations – from larger organisations with national coverage through to smaller and local groups.
  • Community workers, housing officers, mental health workers, volunteers, welfare officers, energy advisers and money mentors, to name a few of the many roles delivering money guidance.
  • Those working with young adults through to older and retired people.

How Carers First have boosted financial wellbeing for carers

Carers First is the first carers charity in England to participate in the Money Guiders programme.

Who are carers first?

Carers First is a charity that delivers information, advice and support to unpaid carers, who look after family members or friends who cannot manage on their own due to ill health, frailty or a disability. The charity offers support online, via a helpline and face to face in communities across the east of England and London. Last year the organisation reached over 250,000 carers. There are over 40,000 carers registered with the charity.

Since the pandemic, Carers First has seen an increase in the number of carers finding themselves in desperate financial need. During the pandemic, many carers had to give up their employment, using their savings and/or pension to get by. There are now additional expenses to factor in with the current cost of living and increased fuel prices.

“Money Guiders is a great programme for us in terms of making sure our staff have the skill base to address financial concerns, and handover to specialist agencies where needed,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Executive. “We’re trying to reach carers earlier in their journey before they’re really struggling, and provide enhanced services so they are not being passed back and forth between services.”

What Carers First staff have said about the Money Guiders programme

The key topics staff get asked about is benefits. Some staff are trained welfare benefits advisers, but the majority are not, which is where Money Guiders helps to upskill to a common level. “The clear structure and endorsement appeals to staff,” says Laura Small, HR Manager.

"A lot of people don’t like talking about money so this has helped our staff have confidence of raising these issues in a positive way."

- Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of Carers First

“Staff are more aware of the type of questions and support that they need to provide. They are really excited this is something that can be offered. They’ve taken part in helping to build tier 2 and 3, it’s a great programme to be a part of. Once tier 2 and 3 are done I think we’ll really see the benefit in terms of our knowledge base and who we can signpost to,” says Laura.

Learn more about the Money Guiders programme

Three quick ways to support financial wellbeing for employees who are carers

  • Share MoneyHelper content and contact details in your internal communications, such as your staff intranet. MoneyHelper guides can help signpost carers to the support available to them, such as benefits entitlements, help with creditors, debt advice and travel discounts. Emphasise the out-of-hours services support MoneyHelper offers, such as WhatsApp and webchat. Flag the alternative formats available, such as audio and Braille money guides.

  • Consider having a Talk Money Week event, and using conversation starter the resources: having someone to talk to can really help carers wellbeing. Our guides support them to start a conversation about finances.

  • Contact our partnerships team: Our team can offer free, bespoke help to your organisation, from simple things like supplying content you can include in your internal communications to speaking at an event or helping develop the financial wellbeing aspect of your employee wellbeing strategy.
Alison Pask

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Alison Pask, Relationship Manager on the Money Guiders programme