Breaking news: Centrica gives Carers UK £1 million

teddy care bears

As the Coronavirus lockdown continues, Centrica brings some great news to unpaid carers by donating £1 million to its partnered charity Carers UK. The money will allow Carers UK to extend its helpline operating hours and fund various other activities to help the charity cope with the increased demand for its services at this time.


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Latest Centrica news: donation to Carers UK

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has donated £1 million to Carers UK to help support unpaid carers during the Coronavirus lockdown. The news comes as Britain enters its 5th week of lockdown, with at least a further three weeks to go.

The pandemic and lockdown have brought added stress, pressure and difficulties to carers across the country. Concerns about keeping those they care for safe during these unprecedented times have been coupled with reductions in local care services, making caring duties even more difficult and demanding.

What is an unpaid carer?An unpaid carer is someone who cares for a family member or friend who cannot live without extra support due to illness, addiction, mental health problems, mental or physical disabilities, or age. These carers are not paid and often have to juggle other responsibilities, such as work, alongside their caring duties. There are around 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK.

Since the start of the lockdown, Carers UK has reported a 60% increase in calls and emails to its support services and helpline, as well as a 600% increase in carers seeking advice through the charity’s website.

Carers need urgent advice on how to continue their caring duties, social distancing, the resources available for remote caring, and how to access support from local food and community services.

How will the donation be used?

The £1 million donation from Centrica will go towards extending the opening hours of Carers UK helpline and email service. Previously the charity has only been able to run the helpline two days a week, but for the next 12 weeks it will operate throughout the week (Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm).

If you are an unpaid carer and need extra support during this time, contact Carers UK by phone or email.

The increased demand for Carers UK services will not end soon. Even after the lockdown, the charity predicts carers will need extra support for a number of months. As a result, the money will also help to extend the helpline over the next year, although the exact operating hours have not yet been announced.

The donation will also help to fund Carers UK other activities, such as running the website and campaigning, for the foreseeable future.

We are very grateful to Centrica for this generous donation which will help us guide and support unpaid carers during the coronavirus outbreak and, crucially, beyond.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK

Centrica and Carers UK charity partnership

In 2018, Centrica announced the news that it was embarking on an official 3-year charity partnership with Carers UK. The partnership, from 2018 to 2021, will see Centrica and Carers UK work together to offer support and advice to carers, develop policies to support employees with caring duties, and generally improve the lives of the UK’s millions of the unpaid carers.

world in hands

Centrica believes companies in the UK lose £8.2 billion a year from carers taking unplanned absences, and leaving jobs as they can’t juggle their caring duties with employment. It is estimated that around three million employees balance unpaid caring with work, and one in five are forced to give up work altogether.

As a result, Centrica has long supported its own employees with caring duties. The company’s flexible carer policy offers paid carers’ leave, flexible working hours if needed, and a carers’ network led by employees. Through its work with Carers UK, it hopes to encourage more companies to adopt such flexible policies.

Other ways Centrica is helping carers during the lockdown

In further Centrica news, the company is also offering aid to unpaid carers through its subsidiary British Gas. Since the start of April, British Gas has been working with the Trussell Trust to help support food banks.

British Gas employees have been volunteering at their local food banks, donating food and organising food parcels, and engineers have been delivering food parcels to those who need them. The aim is to deliver 50,000 parcels a month.

This is a great help to unpaid carers as many are unable to leave their homes due to increased caring demands and the risk of infecting those they care for.

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