Carers UK is the main membership charity in the United Kingdom for carers. It was formed by the merger of two existing voluntary organisations on 14 May 1988. Originally constituted as Carers National Association it was renamed Carers UK in 2001.
Carers UK provides information to carers and leads campaigns to improve carers' rights and tackle inequality. It has been instrumental in securing the first ever legal rights for carers. These include :
- the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995
- the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000
- the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004
- the Work and Families Act 2006
Carers UK also organises Carers Rights Day, produces leaflets and a magazine, and has a free carers helpline.
The registered address is 20 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4LX.
Governance and organisation
Carers UK is a member-led organisation, with a membership that has fluctuated between 7-20,000 individual members. Members elect the Trustees who must always be a majority of carers.
Carers UK currently has staffed offices in four major UK cities- London (Headquarters), Glasgow, Belfast, and Cardiff. National committees exist in the devolved countries with some degree of autonomy to formulate local responses to the national devolved assemblies and their policy processes.
History and origins
In 1965 the National Council for the Single Woman and her Dependants was formed following a letter to The Times by a carer, the Reverend Mary Webster, concerning the difficulties that confronted single women when they faced the complex task of earning the family living and caring for the home, the sick and the elderly. She began writing to newspapers, journals, MPs and peers drawing attention to the isolation and financial hardship that women carers were suffering. Her letters received a huge response from hundreds of women in similar situations.
Baroness Seear was an early supporter. Due to her intervention, a meeting was held in the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons. Other early supporters and fundraisers included Sir Keith Joseph, MP.
The NCSWD was instrumental in securing the first ever right for carers in the Dependant Tax Allowance in 1967 as well as contributing towards the campaign to introduce Attendance Allowance, the benefit for people aged over 65, as well as securing Invalid Care Allowance, later renamed Carer's Allowance which is still the main benefit for carers today.
In 1981 Judith Oliver, a carer for her husband founded the Association of Carers, aided by a grant of £9,879 from the Equal Opportunities Commission. The group campaigned for Invalid Care Allowance to be extended to married women. Following a test case brought to the European Court on behalf of Jackie Drake, in June 1986 the government was forced to capitulate.
In 1982 The National Council for the Single Woman and Her Dependants was renamed "The National Council for Carers and their Elderly Dependants" in an attempt to be more inclusive. Carers National Association was formed by the merger of the two existing voluntary organizations on 14 May 1988, and was renamed Carers UK in 2001.
The Chief Executive is Heléna Herklots.
- "The Voice of Carers : Carers UK success and achievements". Carers UK. Archived from the original on 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "The Voice of Carers : Our History". Carers UK. Archived from the original on 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
- "Invalid Care Allowance". Hansard. 23 June 1986. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- Carers UK - official website