A new report by UWS and Oxfam Scotland has highlighted the difficulties those with caring responsibilities in Scotland face, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
The report: ‘Caring in difficult times - personal testimonies from those who care in Scotland’ shines a light on the stories of six different carers and care workers, revealing the daily challenges they face, from their own personal health and wellbeing, to financial pressures and a lack of social recognition. It also includes one testimony written by the founder of a carer’s centre, reporting about how important support is for carers.
Published today on Carer’s Rights Day, held by Carers UK and Carers Scotland to raise awareness of the rights and needs of carers, the report is another example of the work undertaken by the UWS-Oxfam Partnership to highlight issues faced by carers in Scotland, whether for those providing care unpaid for a friend, family member or relative, or paid within one of the many social care or childcare settings.
Themes emerging from the stories in the report include the financial hardship, social exclusion, gender bias, and stigma those with caring responsibilities experience. The stories are from individuals involved in a range of different aspects of care, including caring for the elderly, care home workers, lone mothers and a young carer.
The purpose of the report is to harness increased attention and interest placed on the importance of care during the Covid-19 pandemic, to help drive long overdue action to better value all those who provide care, including to protect them from poverty.
Hartwig Pautz, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Sciences at UWS, said: “This report compiles seven testimonies offering an insight into the lives of those with caring responsibilities in Scotland. As a collection, the experiences shared shine a timely light onto the lives and experiences of some individuals, exploring how the individuals featured have been impacted by Covid-19 and the ‘lockdowns’ put in place since March 2020 to control the spread of the virus.
“Importantly, the testimonies also demonstrate the incredible personal strength – both mental and physical – which is necessary to provide care, be it as a care worker or as someone helping a relative or friend to cope with their complex vulnerabilities and diminishing independence. And it highlights the significant skills required to provide good care, regardless of whether an individual is paid to provide it or not.”
Hartwig Pautz, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Sciences at UWS