Edinburgh carers struggling financially urged to apply for new grants to help with costs

Carers who are struggling financially can now get grants of up to £500 per household to help with fuel, food and other costs.

By Ian Swanson
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 17th February 2022, 7:33 am

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A funding pot of £500,000 from Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government is being allocated by carers’ charity VOCAL and 12 other city charities to support those in greatest need.

A recent survey by VOCAL of nearly 1,300 carers found many were experiencing money pressures as a direct result of their caring role.

Carers often find themselves with extra financial pressures.

Over half of survey respondents felt being a carer had hit their finances; 33 per cent had stopped working because of their caring role; 17 per cent had had to borrow money; and eight per cent had used a food bank.

One carer said: “I’m now in my late 50s and I never expected to be in this awful financial situation. It’s embarrassing to have to use food banks so we can eat.”

Carers can apply for grants to help with fuel payments, food vouchers, or other costs such as breaks from caring, basic furniture or white goods, support job-seeking and costs associated with caring such as training, transport or equipment.

VOCAL chief executive Sebastian Fischer 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 want to see as many carers as possible benefiting from this.Council carers champion Joan Griffiths said: “Being a carer is extremely rewarding but it can also be stressful and add pressure to finances. It can be a massive juggle simply to meet the everyday demands of work, study or home and make time for yourself when also caring for someone close to you.”

Carers can apply directly through VOCAL’s website, or by calling 0808 196 6666.

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