Robin Swann met today with two groups in Larne who have been awarded funding totalling £107,000 through the Support for Carers Fund.
During his visit to the Mae Murray Foundation premises the Health Minister heard first hand from representatives of the Foundation and also from Action for Children who outlined how they had utilised the funding they had received.
The Mae Murray Foundation, which received £40,000 was set up to allow people of all ages and abilities to take part in activities and enjoy friendship together in an inclusive environment.
The Action for Children received £67,000 from the Fund to assist with their work across Northern Ireland to protect and support and young people by providing practical support and emotional care.
Minster Swann said:
“I am delighted to have been here today to hear and see first-hand of some of the invaluable work that has been supported by the Support for Carers Fund.
“It also provides me with an opportunity to pay tribute to the many thousands of people in Northern Ireland who help to look after a family member or friend without financial reward.
“The Support for Carers Fund, which was set up last year, is designed to support projects delivering on the ground to make a real difference to individual carers. I have therefore been delighted to hear about some of the practical supports that the Fund is allowing through these awards.
“It is my hope that projects such as the ones I've heard about today will help to bring about a sustained improvement in the lives and experiences of individual carers.”
The Mae Murray Foundation was set up to allow people of all ages and abilities to take part in activities, experience the world and enjoy friendship together in an inclusive environment. Mae Murray, who passed away in 2012, was the mother of their chairperson, Alix Crawford.
Their project is aiming to enhance the provision of and access to practical support and help for carers. They are doing this through a ‘resource library’ which allows carers to borrow equipment to assist with a family member at home with a complex disability.
This has supported independence, improved communication, and provided opportunities to get active/travel. A large quantity of the funding is to purchase capital items as identified as items in need by their members. This equipment will be able to be borrowed by families for many years to come. This project has provided 45 families with a range of adapted equipment to enable them to meet an unmet need.
Action for Children has been working in NI since 2000, with children in and on the edge of crisis to meet their immediate basic needs. They protect and support children and young people by providing practical support and emotional care.
In partnership with young carers, the project aims to mitigate the damaging effects of Covid-19 and ensure young carers have the chance to be children. Funding has allowed for the employment of a support worker who will aim to reach at least 300 young carers and young adults carers across NI, over a 2-year period.
There is a focus on three key elements: providing young carers with advice, support and reassurance; ensuring that young carers participate in group engagement activities that provide a break from their caring responsibilities and help them to build their wider support networks; and ensuring that young carers develop the emotional resilience they need to thrive.