BT has stepped up efforts to ensure that carers working at the company have access to financial advice and general support, as well as the opportunity to network with others in a similar situation.
The communications giant has agreed to host support and skills sessions in collaboration with Caring with Confidence, a free programme funded by the government to help workers care for relatives or dependents nearing the end of life.
The eight-session programme, part of the National Carers’ Strategy, provides help with practical caring skills and advice on financial matters, and also includes three sessions on bereavement.
Fourteen staff in Birmingham have already attended introductory sessions as part of a pilot.
Helen Chipchase, BT people and policy manager, disability and carers, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer BT employees across the country the opportunity to benefit from this important initiative. We understand the challenges carers face balancing their responsibilities, and this is one way in which we can help them to help themselves.”
Staff in Wolverhampton, Manchester, Croydon and Ipswich will be the next to benefit from the programme, with other centres, including Shrewsbury, expected to follow suit in 2010.
There are nearly six million unpaid carers in the UK – 12% of the adult population. One in six people with caring responsibilities give up or cut back on work to care for dependents and face a significant drop in income, according to the charity Carers UK.
Earlier this month, the government said it would consider a proposal to enable carers to claim for paid leave.