The hidden cost of the Coronavirus crisis to unpaid carers is being dramatically exposed, as hundreds of carers apply to Carers Trust South East Wales emergency grants scheme to pay for food and other essential items.

Carers Trust South East Wales has received well over 400 applications for grants scheme during two rounds of applications. More than a quarter of people applying have asked for help to buy food. Other reasons given include replacing white good such as washing machines that have broken down during the pandemic. 

The emergency grants scheme started with funding of £4,500 from Carers Trust to distribute amongst carers in south east Wales. But with over 350 applications received during the first round – the majority within 24 hours of opening the fund – Carers Trust South East Wales had to quickly ask its local authority and health board partners if they could help meet the high demand.

Thankfully Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Bridgend County Borough Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cardiff Council, Community Foundation Wales, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport City Council, Torfaen County Borough Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council were able to contribute and over £39,000 has now been awarded in grants to unpaid carers. 

Many applicants are carers who have never asked for help before, and some have only become carers during the pandemic.

The third and final round of the Covid-19 Emergency Grant scheme opens at 12:00am on Tuesday, 7 July and will close 11:59pm on Thursday, 9 July. The short timescale is due to the number of applications expected. Carers can apply at www.ctsew.org.uk

Carers Trust South East Wales Director of Services, Jenny Park, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say we were completely blown away by both the demand and what people were asking for. It’s completely unacceptable that people have to apply for an emergency fund to feed themselves and their families. If there is a silver lining to this terrible situation, it’s that we have identified a lot of people with caring responsibilities that previously had no support. We can now give these people immediate and longer-term help and advice.”