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

Many older people care for sick family members. Census findings in 2011 show that in England and Wales there are around six million people providing unpaid care for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. 

  • Unpaid care is highest for both men and women in the 50-64 age range. Women provide a higher share across ages 0-64 but men aged 50-64 do provide a higher percentage of unpaid care than women aged 25-49.
  • The possibility of becoming an unpaid carer increases up to age 64. People in the 50-64 age range are the most likely to have an elderly parent to care for.

  • Becoming an unpaid carer in your 50s increases a persons chances of leaving the labour market for good, is associated with health problems and restricts social and leisure activities.

There are an estimated 36,785 people in Lancashire-12 over the age of 65 providing unpaid care to a partner, family member or other person (2017). By 2035 this number will have risen by an estimated 31% to 48,244. (POPPI (Projecting Older People Population Information), 2017).

Carer-specific services

Carers UK and the University of Leeds have produced an updated 'Valuing Carers 2015' report, which calculates 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 £132 billion per year, equivalent to £2.5 billion per week; this is up from £119 billion in 2011.
  • There are an estimated 6.8 million carers in the UK, a rise of 16.5% between 2001 and 2015.
  • there are around 138,000 carers in Lancashire-12, an increase of 3.6% since 2011.

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 require support in the future and the population lives longer.


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

Page updated October 2017