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Carers Lewisham has launched a new programme Wednesday 5 July, which will help unpaid carers in South East London to access work, training and education.

The Working for Carers programme is a £2 million project that will encourage local employers to adopt carer-friendly policies, and recognise the benefits of employing carers in their workforce.

The new programme will help some of London’s 689,000 unpaid carers to return to work or education whilst managing care for a family member or friend who is sick or disabled. The three-year programme is being led by Carers Trust as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme, which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

Every borough in Greater London will operate the programme which will help carers over the age of 25 to develop a personal plan for their future. They will have free access to one-to-one support, bespoke training, peer support and links to local employers.

A survey carried out by Carers Trust showed that 68% of unpaid carers in London were unemployed. Nearly 70% said the main barriers to finding and keeping employment were the pressure of their caring role and 75% said it was the need for part-time work.*

Launching the programme, Letizia Gambacorta, Working for Carers (South East Hub) Project Manager, said:

“Carers provide a vital role at home, but face massive barriers to work and study because employers don’t always understand the implications of caring. The Working for Carers programme will help unpaid carers to find jobs and remain in work either while or after caring. It will also help employers to understand the benefits of part-time and flexible working for people who have another job when they return home – that of an unpaid carer.”

Andrew, who cares for his mother, said: "The Working For Carers team empowered me with the knowledge and confidence needed to present myself as an employment-worthy individual. Since joining their scheme, I've never felt better about my employment prospects."