Today, on 6th October 2020, VOCAL joins Eurocarers and carer organisations across Europe to mark the first European Carers Day – a day where across all European nations, unpaid carers are recognised for their immense contribution to people’s care and wellbeing, often to their own personal detriment.

Kimberley Swan, an Edinburgh carer and Joint Convenor of the Coalition of Carers in Scotland says:

“Without our care for the most vulnerable people, the system would simply collapse. And the current pandemic has shown how all care systems can stop overnight – except the care we provide!”

In Europe, 80% of care is provided by unpaid family carers.1 The economic value of the care they provide is estimated to between 50 to 90% of the cost of care provided by the paid care workforce.

In Scotland, over one million carers prove care, valued at over £36 billion a year.2,3

The contribution of unpaid caring in Europe should not be measured just by its economic value.  Carers make lives worth living, they contribute positively to the lives of children and adults with disabilities, the care of older people and to our sense of caring communities.

As a message of the 1st European Carers Day, VOCAL urges national and local government that caring for a relative or friend should be adequately supported and never have a negative impact on the finances, employment or the health and wellbeing of carers.

Sebastian Fischer, VOCAL’s Chief Executive, says:

“European Carers Day acknowledges that unpaid carers are indispensable and must be recognised as equal partners in care across all our nations and communities. VOCAL  stands shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with carers across Europe and with our European colleagues in campaigning for improved rights, recognition and support for unpaid carers.”

Further information:

  • Join the online conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #CarersDay_EU and #WeAreCarers_EU.
  • For more information about European Carers Day, please visit,

Eurocarers brings together carers’ organisations as well as relevant universities & research institutes – a unique combination that enables evidence-based advocacy.

Our network works to ensure that care is valued and unpaid care is recognised as central to the sustainability of health and long-term care systems.

Our aim is to act as a voice for informal carers, irrespective of their age or the particular health need of the person they are caring for by:

(1) Documenting and raising awareness about the significant contribution made by carers to health and social care systems and the economy as a whole, and of the need to safeguard this contribution;

(2) Ensuring that EU and national policies take account of carers, i.e. promote their social inclusion, the development of support services, enable them to remain active in paid employment and maintain a social life.


1 European data provided by Eurocarers

2 The figure of 1 million carers is from Carers UK carers week report – here

3 The figure of £36b is from an Oxfam report – here