What we are doing
The national volunteering programme of Carers UK, enables people with experience of caring to provide valued support to help others better manage their caring role; an increasing number of whom are older.
The programme is mobilising people with caring experience to use their time, skills and networks, to reach, connect and support carers.
We identify carers earlier in their caring role, equipping them with the support, knowledge and resilience to care longer and more sustainably alongside their own health, life and, if they choose, work. Volunteers connect with carers through a number of touchpoints, including:
- Online: sharing experiences on social media and signposting carers to support, participating in the Carers UK forum community, and developing factsheets and guides for dissemination through the Carers UK website.
- Local: working in the community to raise awareness through talks and promotional materials, and running information stands in community hubs.
- Over the phone: providing support through the Carers UK adviceline and listening support services.
- Workplace: joining Carers Networks, Carers UK’s corporate partnerships, or the Employers for Carers Forum to connect with carers who are balancing work and care.
The volunteering programme has a particular focus on older people as both volunteers and beneficiaries, recognising that the fastest growing group of carers are older people (aged 80+) and the biggest group are adults caring for their ageing parents. The programme aims to both engage this cohort through offering flexible relevant volunteering opportunities to them, and to reach out through volunteers and their networks in order to reach, connect and support them as beneficiaries.
What we are learning
Carers UK’s Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund evaluation, conducted by Renaisi, found that:
- 55.6 per cent per cent of respondents to one survey reported that a Carers UK volunteer had helped them to identify themselves as a carer – an important step towards accessing the appropriate support, rights and entitlements associated with being a carer
- 76.1 per cent of carers who responded to the same survey indicated that they agree or strongly agree that people using the Carers UK forum signpost each other to practical, emotional, and financial support
- 88 per cent of respondents to another survey agreed or strongly agreed that they are more aware of support and how to access it
- Carers UK plans to scale the volunteering programme from 500 to 3,000 volunteers in order to reach 300,000 beneficiaries over 5 years
- From the insights provided by activity and reach data, Carers UK has calculated that, on average, each volunteer reaches approximately 100 carers. Therefore the target reach from 3,000 volunteers in the programme will be 300,000
- Year one of the scaling plan focuses on consolidating learning; testing roles and opportunities and continuing to build the evidence base. Expanding key channels follows in years two to five; developing monitoring and evaluation in line with growth and expansion to reach, connect and support 300,000 beneficiaries over five years.