This piece is part of our 2022 Community Flash Series showcasing new writing by the Wandsworth Carers Centre Writers Group. You can read more about the background to this project in our introduction to this series, find out more about Wandsworth Carers Centre on their website, and find them on Twitter @CarerWandeworth.
Who Cares about Unpaid Carers
My mum raised me in a very loving joyful and kind way.
Now she is 89 and has dementia, it's my turn to care her for which I feel honoured privileged and blessed to be able to repay.
To keep mum safe I have left my job as a paid care support worker so now I am an unpaid care worker. My hours have doubled and duties increased. The government does not contribute to my pension and no paid holidays.
What I'm learning about this caring role is the work is invisible to and unrecognised by the government.
This is reflected in the carers allowance of 69.90 a week which if worked out as 35 hours a week is 2 pounds an hour. The reality is I do much longer hours so it works out even less is spent.
I get 2 pounds an hour for being an advocate, defender, protector and care provider, looking after my mum's health and welfare with empathy, compassion and candour.
As this cost-of-living crisis hits I am being forced to use my savings.
Having to cut back on food, holidays and other things.
I don’t understand why when the chancellor announced a cost-of-living support package, Carers Allowance was excluded from the benefits listed as qualifying for the £650 payments. This lack of humanity, and dignity fills me with rage.
My mum worked for many years in a south London hospital as a psychiatric nurse caring for the most vulnerable in our community.
In return the government pays me 2 pounds an hour as the amount they have calculated to give back and show they don’t value or recognise her contribution when she worked on those difficult wards with such kindness and generosity.
I am grateful to all the unpaid carers you are a special group making life more pleasant and joyful for our older generation.
It's an honour to give back and to every unpaid carer I see you, I value you and you give me hope in your courage to follow a selfless path of care, love and dedication.