Carers provide support to family members or friends. Nationally, 15% of households include carers. This represents around 3 million households in England¹.

A person is a provider of unpaid care if they look after or give help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of long-term physical or mental ill health or disability, or problems related to old age. This does not include any activities as part of paid employment. The 2011 Census on Provision of Unpaid Care for local authorities in England and Wales reports that 49,836 people in Lancashire provide care to another person for 20 hours or more a week. Approximately 65% of this number provide unpaid care for 50 hours or more a week².

Young carers

As a hard to reach group, young carers can often be more isolated in the community, and less able or willing to voice their need for support in their caring role.

Current performance – key points

  • Young carers state that they are often not recognised in school and do not have anyone they can turn to in that setting for support. This is supported by national research.
  • Many young carers look after an adult aged between 25 and 49 years. This group is expected to face increased health problems with obesity and diabetes, therefore the number of young carers will increase in relation to this. Some young carers are involved in shared care for siblings.
  • Young carers state they are often overlooked, as the focus of any assessment tends to be directed toward the adult they are caring for.
  • Young carers are often given very little information about the condition and future arrangements for the person they care for.
  • Young carers feel that Young Carers Projects across the county deliver a good service.

A number of organisations in Lancashire provide support and advice to young carers therefore data on this group is fragmented. As one of the larger organisations, Barnardos currently support 502 young carers across the county.

Elderly carers

One in 20 older people in Great Britain spend long hours caring for sick family members. Census findings in 2001 reported that more than a million older people in the UK (12%) were informal carers (498 000 men and 539 000 women). Of these, more than a third (382 000) cared for at least 50 hours a week. Less than a third of older people with this heavy burden of care were themselves in good health and more than a quarter (103 000) rated their health as “not good.” (ONS Office for National Statistics, 2001).

There are an estimated 25,987 people in Lancashire over the age of 65 providing unpaid care to a partner, family member or other person. By 2030 this number will have risen by an estimated 33% to 34,582. (POPPI (Projecting Older People Population Information), 2012).

Carer-specific services

Carers UK and the University of Leeds produced a paper called 'Valuing Carers 2011' which calculated the value of carers support at a national and regional level. The key points concluded that:

  • the economic value of the contribution made by carers in the UK is around £119 billion per year, equivalent to £2.3 billion per week;
  • there are an estimated 6,440,713 carers in the UK, a rise of 10% over the last 10 years;
  • there are around 130,000 carers in Lancashire, a rise of over 10,000 carers in the last 3 years.

Though this amount will fluctuate as carers move in and out of caring situations, it is expected that this number will continue to increase over time, as higher numbers of people with complex social and health care needs are expected to be requiring support in the future.

There were 3% fewer carers assessed or reviewed in 2011/12 (6998 compared to 7210 in 2010/11), however a higher proportion of those assessed received services this year.


  1. NHS Information Centre (2010). Survey of Carers in Households 2009/10
  2. ONS Office for National Statistics (2012)

Page updated October 2015