Many unpaid carers – people who voluntarily provide care to a loved one or friend – are not looking after their own health and wellbeing, as a consequence of rising costs of living.
Unpaid carers have told us that they are having to prioritise their spending, and many are choosing not to spend on exercise or activities away from their caring roles.
We are concerned that it will have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, so we and Mid Devon District Councils are piloting a new scheme to provide free access for unpaid adult carers of adults to three leisure centres, to encourage them to stay active.
The pilot will run until the end of December.
Councillor James McInnes, our Cabinet Member responsible for adult carers support, said:
“We are concerned that with the financial impact of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, thousands of unpaid carers are needing to prioritise what they spend their budgets on. And as a result, they’re putting their own health and wellbeing on the back burner.
“That’s a problem. We know that regular exercise and opportunities away from their caring roles are vital to people’s physical and mental health. And that in turn impacts on their ability to continue their caring role.”
The participating leisure centres are:
- Culm Valley Sports Centre in Cullompton
- Exe Valley Leisure Centre in Tiverton
- Lords Meadow Leisure Centre in Crediton
Carers will need to show their ‘Carers Passport’ at leisure centre receptions, which are available to unpaid adult carers of adults for free from Devon Carers.
Councillor Dennis Knowles, Mid Devon District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Well Being, said:
“We know there are many people in our district who will be facing financial hardship , yet will be doing their upmost to support those they care for. This is our way to support them and ensure they have access to high quality leisure facilities, enabling them to exercise freely and boost their own physical and mental wellbeing.”
Details about the facilities available at the leisure centres are available on the Mid Devon Leisure Centre website. Unpaid carers can access all activities, but classes and courts are advised to be booked in advance.
For information, advice and support, and, if you an unpaid adult carer of an adult, to apply for your ‘Carers Passport’ from Devon Carers please visit the Devon Carers website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Devon Carers Helpline on 03456 434 435. The Helpline is available Monday to Fridays from 8:00am to 6:00pm (except bank holidays) and on Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm.