South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has paid tribute to the hundreds of carers around the region in honour of Carers Week 2020.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. It also helps people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed support.

This year, people across the country are continuing to face new challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.

Local employers are also having to adapt to the additional pressures placed on employees who may have found themselves with extra caring responsibilities in recent months.

Last year South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth was recognised as a Carer Positive Engaged employer. The scheme is operated by Carers Scotland with the aim of recognising employers who offer best support to carers, allowing them the flexibility they often require to provide care at home.

Colin Smyth said: “The impact of caring on all aspects of life should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year.

“While many feel caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated.

“It is vitally important that we recognise the contribution carers make to their families and local communities, workplaces and society, and that they get the support they need.

“Carers Week is a great opportunity to pay tribute to our fantastic carers, but I want everyone in the south of Scotland to go further and make sure we do all we can to support and recognise their contribution all year round.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the challenges which carers face and we must ensure those who have caring responsibilities have as much support as possible.

“In particular, many people in recent months will have found themselves with additional caring responsibilities which they have to balance with work. It is vital that employers listen to carers’ concerns and help put in place the support they need.

“I am proud to be recognised as a Carer Positive Engaged employer. I would encourage all local organisations who have not yet signed up to become a Carer Positive Employer to consider doing so. The process is straight forward and ensures that employers review their practises to ensure they can properly support carers they may employ.”

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