Masons are leading aproject to help up to 33,000 adult, young and parent carers, with donations ofmore than £715,000.
According to Carers UK, thenumber of carers grew exponentially during the pandemic, reaching more than 13 million.The helping hand from the Freemasons is supporting them with essential items,life skills, counselling, crisis support, activities and breaks.
Approximately 20,000 unpaidcarers are receiving access to crucial support online, funded by the UnitedGrand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body of the Freemasons.
The UGLE is also working toprotect young carers, who are under increasing pressure as they support family membersduring lockdown.
In particular, the Freemasonsproject is providing 870 young carers with respite through activities andbreaks, while 760 young carers are being provided with essential items and lifeskills. Elsewhere, almost 100 schools are receiving assistance to identifyhidden young carers and provide support.
In total, more than 1,800 youngcarers are receiving advice, support and information.
In addition to their supportfor young carers, the Freemasons are providing funding for crisis support,advice and information to almost 3,000 adult carers. Meanwhile, the project isalso assisting 1,050 parent carers with advice and support.
In Bedfordshire forexample, the donation will help up to 20,000 unpaid carers to access onlinesupport, information and guidance with ease, freeing up staff to help those whoare most in need. And in Essex, the donation will benefit 4,000 carers with anew minibus, providing transport to and from activities and day centres, removing barriers to participation.
Meanwhile inBuckinghamshire, almost 2,000 young carers will be supported at school, toimprove their wellbeing and reduce stress and isolation. The donation will fundthe salaries and project costs of three support staff to work with schools inidentifying and supporting young carers. The aim of the project is to find young people with previously ‘hidden’ caring responsibilities and raise awareness of their burden.
Elsewhere, in Cumberlandand Westmorland, Freemasons’ donations are supporting the Eden Carers project withmobile phones and laptops for its staff, enabling them to continue to supportmore than 800 unpaid carers of all ages flexibly and remotely, complying with Covid-19restrictions.
Dr David Staples, chiefexecutive of the UGLE, said: “These have been very difficult times for everyoneand especially for carers. With the donations, we are helping with training,counselling, support, mental and physical health, as well as activities toreduce stress.
“We want to recognise theenormous contribution carers make to families and communities throughout theUK. They do their best because they want to make a difference and care deeplyfor their family members.”