Putting carers on the map during National Carers Week | Bolt Burdon Kemp Putting carers on the map during National Carers Week | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Putting carers on the map during National Carers Week

This week is National Carers Week, an annual campaign in the UK to raise awareness about unpaid carers and the challenges they face.

As a paralegal in the Child Brain Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, working for children who have sustained brain injuries due to accidents or medical negligence, I am humbled by the selfless and devoted care parents give to their disabled children and the challenges they face to meet their child’s complex needs, not just this week, but every single day.

A child who has sustained brain injuries due to an accident or medical negligence may be severely disabled, with physical, psychological, cognitive, sensory and emotional needs over and above the needs of an uninjured child. They may require dedicated 24-hour care and support, not only when they are young, but throughout their teens and into adulthood.

Parents of disabled children often sacrifice their own mental and physical well-being to care for their child and frequently must give up work to do so, leading to financial insecurity. The Government currently offers a carer’s allowance to those caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week but, at a rate of £81.90 a week, this is not enough to support a family, and undervalues the contribution parent carers make to their families and to their communities.

In our Child Brain Injury team, we seek compensation for parents who have provided extra care for their injured child. This “gratuitous care claim” aims to reimburse parents for the additional hours of unpaid care beyond what a child would typically need. We calculate this based on the care tasks recorded in diaries or logs that, with our help, we ask parents to keep.

In a recent case involving a child with cerebral palsy, we successfully negotiated a settlement where the mother received approximately £100,000 in gratuitous care. A claim for gratuitous care is not limited to parents, however, and we have also secured compensation for grandparents and other relatives who have played a significant role in a child’s care due to their complex needs. It is immensely fulfilling to help families receive recognition and compensation for their role as carers.

Carers Week this year runs from Monday 10 June until Sunday 16 June 2024 with the theme ‘Putting Carers on the Map’. Charities throughout the UK are organising hundreds of activities to offer carers support, share resources, or simply to offer carers a break.

You can find details of what’s on offer, from coffee mornings, guided walks, afternoon tea and cake, and yoga, through to creative writing and pamper sessions to name only a few, at Activities | Carers Week. If you care for someone and are in need of support or would like to read more about carers week visit Home | Carers Week.

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