In support of Carers Week 2014 (June 9th-15th) Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for an awareness campaign to encourage self-identification and public understanding of the role of carers, with more flexible access to education and work.
Kirsty Williams portrait Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM said ahead of the debate:
"In Wales there are over 370,000 unpaid carers who offer invaluable support in looking after family members, friends and loved ones, in what is very often an extremely challenging role. That's around one in every eight of us, yet there remains a lack of understanding of the vital role that carers play.
"Nearly 104,000 people in Wales provide over 50 hours of unpaid care a week, which clearly has a huge impact on a carer's life; on their health and well-being, their relationships, finances and ability to work alongside their caring responsibilities.
"A huge issue is that many people aren't aware that they would be considered a carer. More must be done to raise awareness so that carers can access support financial and practical sooner. We need better information for employers and employees to help them recognise and support carers within their team who are seeking to balance a work and caring role.
"The Welsh Government must also work with education providers to explore more flexible provision that recognises that carers' lives are often busy and unpredictable, so that they can still access opportunities for education and training.
"For every carer the experience is different, whether they provide support for a friend or family member who is ill, has a disability, mental health issue or addiction. But common to all carers is the personal commitment that they give, through dedicating their time and energy, care and support to help someone they are close to, and in turn we must do all possible to support carers in this role."