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Know your rights as an unpaid carer

Do you look after a family member or friend who needs your support due to illness, disability, mental health, addiction issues, or who just needs some extra help as they grow older? Then you might be an unpaid carer.

You may have been caring for someone for a while, or perhaps you are new to a caring role.

North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (NAHSCP) and Unity Carers Centre believe it’s important that all unpaid carers are aware of their rights, and that carers are able to access the right information and support at the right time.

This Thursday, November 25 is Carers Rights Day, which aims to ensure carers understand their rights, know where to go for help and support, and raise awareness of the needs of carers across the UK.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of carers, affecting access to services and the ability to juggle work and caring responsibilities, so it’s more important than ever that carers are aware of the support available to them.

Staff at Unity North Ayrshire Carers Centre in Irvine can provide support to carers from across North Ayrshire, including young carers aged five and over.

This can involve providing carers with information, the opportunity to apply for a break from caring, income maximisation, advocacy support, one to one support and peer support.

The centre also offers the opportunity to meet with other carers in your area, as well as holding events and awareness sessions.

You can get in touch with the Unity Carers Centre by calling 01294 311333 or emailing

If you are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, NAHSCP has set timescales in place to ensure that crucial support is offered to you as quickly as possible.

You will be offered an Adult Carer Support Plan or Young Carer Statement within two days of being identified as a carer. If you accept any offer of support, an initial conversation with you will take place within five days, and you will be supported to complete your plan or statement within five days of this initial conversation.

Caroline Cameron, Director of North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Caring for a friend or family member can be demanding. We understand the impact that a caring role can have on both physical and mental well-being, so it’s important that carers are aware that support is available and know where to go for advice and support.

“Throughout the pandemic, carers may have had to juggle caring responsibilities with employment, looking after children full time, financial concerns, a lack of face to face support services and the added stress of trying to protect their loved ones from the impact of Covid-19.

“We would urge any unpaid carers to please seek out support. The Health and Social Care Partnership values the role and contribution of unpaid carers, now more than ever. Your contribution in caring for your loved one is invaluable.”

To find out more about the support available to unpaid carers, including information on the Carers Appreciation Card – which entitles unpaid carers of all ages to a range of discounts, offers and concessions – as well as a fantastic, free digital resource for carers, visit

We will also be sharing some useful advice for carers via our NAHSCP and North Ayrshire Carers social media channels on the day.

As part of Carers Rights Day on the 25th, Unity Carers Centre in Irvine is hosting an online quiz from 10.30am to 12pm, and KA Leisure will be holding a Carers Well-being Health Check drop-in session at their new community hub in Bridgegate, Irvine. To find out more about these events, click here.

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