COMMITMENT to supporting carers has been recognised with the awarding of Carer Positive ‘Engaged’ status to East Lothian Council.

About 15,000 unpaid carers in East Lothian provide physical, personal and emotional support to community members, relatives and friends.

Providing assistance alongside juggling paid roles can often leave carers burnt out.

As recognised by the East Lothian Carers’ Strategy, the council is keen to ensure that the best possible support is provided to those with caring responsibilities.

Carer Positive Engaged status reflects that East Lothian Council has a good understanding of the term ‘carer’, recognises carers within HR policies and procedures, enables carers in its workforce to access practical workplace support and information about external support and services, communicates with carers and helps carers engage with other carers.

Sue McLintock, Carer Positive awards manager at Carers Scotland, said: “We are especially thrilled during Carers Week (June 7-13) to recognise East Lothian Council as our latest Carer Positive Engaged employer.

“This not only helps send a strong message of support and commitment to staff who are carers but also helps raise awareness of the challenges facing carers in the wider community.

“Through access to flexible working and other practical support, the council demonstrates a workplace culture which values carers, helping them balance their working lives with caring roles at home. I am also delighted to know that the council is keen to progress this support and look forward to working with them on this journey.”

Monica Patterson, council chief executive, said: “I’m pleased we’ve achieved Carer Positive ‘Engaged’ status – it gives us a very good foundation on which to build on in developing our support for staff.

“Carers provide support for people with a range of needs and we know that many find it fulfilling and rewarding but we know it’s not always easy and can impact on the choices people have to make, as well as health and wellbeing.

“As a major employer, we know that we have carers within our workforce and we’re very much committed to supporting them. We have achieved Carer Positive ‘Engaged’ status, which means that we still have scope to keep developing our support for staff who are carers.

“I’m hugely grateful to our teams in the council and health and social care partnership for their great work.

“We’re proud to be among the 200 organisations to have achieved this status and national recognition.”

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for health and social care, added: “This is very well-deserved recognition of the work the council has put into reflecting the needs of carers, and those they support, within our organisational culture.

“Being a carer can be rewarding but, in many respects, challenging and so it’s really important that practical support and signposting is available to those who need it.

“I’m very grateful to our teams who have put a lot of work into securing Carer Positive ‘Engaged’ status and I look forward to us making further progress.”