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Column 20th June 2018

We want to have a caring culture - but does anyone care?

Last week Oxfordshire's health care services launched a new commitment to support and work with carers in the community.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxfordshire County Council, together with Action for Carers Oxfordshire including Carers Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire Young Carers Service have all signed up to the Commitment to Carers charter.

Yet at the same time, the county’s only charity that supports young carers announced that it was likely to close in less than a week after its funding dried up.

Be Free Young Carers (formerly South and Vale Carers), which supports more than 500 young people aged eight to 24, needs £150,000 a year to operate and no longer has the money to deal with an ever-increasing demand for its services.

The charity, which works across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of the White Horse, provides day-trips, social activities and training for those caring for an ill or vulnerable family member.

Since all the publicity on TV, radio and local papers last week, donations have been flooding in and the Trustees have withdrawn the decision to close.

Oxfordshire County Council are likely to donate £10,000 and many town and parish councils also provide some funding. Harwell Campus are probably the biggest supporters and the charity is based on the Campus.

If you want to donate, you can do so via the website at befreeyc.org.uk, by telephone 01235 838554 or by mail to “Be Free YC, Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Didcot, OX11 0QG

What they really need is regular funding, but this is a common problem faced by most of the charities in our area including the Wantage Independent Advice Centre (wantageadvice.org.uk or 01235 765348), the Wantage October Club - Alzheimer's Day Care Centre (octoberclub.org.uk or 01235 760428) and the Wantage and Surrounding Area Community First Responders (sca-charity.org.uk/wantage-and-surrounding-area-cfr or 07970 490519).

All of these charities provide vital services to our community with volunteers and paid staff but do not have sufficient funding to provide all the services that we need.

Many of these services would have been provided by health and social services in the past but that funding is no longer available.

People like you and me have to dig into our pockets to help pay for these services and if we can provide regular donations this gives some confidence that funding will continue in the future.


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