Local carer charity, VOCAL, Voice of Carers Across Lothian, has today announced a Carer Recovery Fund – a monumental funding package in partnership with 12 Edinburgh charities, to improve carers’ wellbeing.

Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council funding to the tune of over £500,000 will be allocated through VOCAL and partner agencies over the next two months, supporting carers in greatest need.

The Carer Recovery Fund will help those in greatest need through the delivery of grants up to £500 per carer household. Carers can apply for support with fuel payments, food vouchers, or general costs associated with improving their financial situation. General grants cover wellbeing activities to reduce stress, access breaks from caring, purchase basic furniture (including white goods), support to seek employment and costs associated with caring such as training, transport or equipment.

The Action Group, Edinburgh Community Food, Lothian Autistic Society, Space, Milan and several young carer organisations are just some of the partners who joined forces to provide additional support and will assist carers with the application process.

VOCAL’s recent survey of nearly 1,300 carers found that many are experiencing financial pressures and increased negative impacts on finances and employment as a direct result of their caring role.

Over half of survey respondents felt that being a carer has negatively impacted their finances. 33% have stopped working because of their caring role. 17% of respondents have had to borrow money because of their caring role and 8% have used a food bank. One carer said:

“I am now in my late 50s and I really never expected to be in this awful financial situation. It is embarrassing to have to regularly use food banks so we can eat.”

Sebastian Fischer, Chief Executive at VOCAL said:

“Often as a result of the pandemic, some carers have had to reduce their hours at work, or even stop working altogether. With the recent cut to Universal Credit, increased inflation and rising fuel prices, carers are being sucked further to the edge of poverty with their financial and emotional resilience pushed to the limit.

“If you’re supporting a family member, partner, relative or friend, of any age, who needs help to manage a long-term condition, disability, physical or mental health problem, or addiction, you are a carer and could be eligible to access a grant.

“We would urge carers who are facing financial difficulties to get in touch with us and apply. We are also asking Edinburgh citizens to spread the word with friends and family members. We want to see as many carers as possible benefiting from this.”

Carers can apply directly through our website, or by calling 0808 196 6666.