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Wortley: Carer calls for end to ‘raw deal’

By Helen Fay

A WORTLEY man is calling for fairer rights for carers trapped in poverty.

Jason Otene is a vocal and active advocate for carers’ rights. He is a live-in carer for his partner Helen Roberts, who is registered blind and also has cancer. Jason, from Privilege Street in Wortley, has become involved with a nationwide organisation called Poverty Truth. 

Poverty Truth Commissions involve those who struggle with poverty in making decisions about tackling the problem. Each Commission is comprised of leaders within a region alongside people with a lived experience of the challenges of poverty. 

Jason strongly feels that live-in carers are getting a raw deal, and said: “I feel that carer’s allowance is not paying enough, because at the end of the month you’re left with nothing for yourself.”  

Jason has become involved with the organisation because “Poverty Truth are trying to get themselves noticed and see if we can get the government to change the way they treat people in the country”. 

Through Poverty Truth, Jason is calling on the government to “look a how they pay us (carers). If you worked at a nursing or residential home you would be on the minimum wage, but carers like me are on 45 pence an hour.” 

Jason gets very little free time due to his caring duties for Helen, but he regularly attends a Sunday morning walking group run by Man About Town, a men’s mental health and well-being group.  

Man About Town is an ongoing project created by Jonathan Parker of Creative Frame CIC in partnership with Cloth Cat Music charity. Jason says that the walks “helps your mental health and you get fresh air and meet people”.

Recently Jonathan made a short film featuring Jason talking about his involvement with the Poverty Truth network and carer’s rights to a fair deal. The film can be viewed here:

Jason has also launched a petition here.

The Poverty Truth Leeds network is at www.leedspovertytruth.org.uk.

For more information about men’s mental health groups in Leeds, contact Jonathan Parker at info@creativeframe.org.uk.

Recent research shows The North of England is being hit hardest by the unpaid care crisis. Experts are calling for “more adequate” financial support for people looking after vulnerable loved ones as the Carer’s Allowance benefit offers ‘minimal’ assistance.

Kate Sheehan, occupational therapist at Stannah said: “Carers do some of the most valuable work in our country, often to the detriment of their own health. Not only are carers physically looking after a relative, friend or neighbour, but they will often have to consider the adaptations that need to be made in a home for someone with changing physical and cognitive needs, all while trying to lead their own life.

“Whilst the financial support currently on offer to carers provides some minimal support, it is vital that they are provided with adequate financial support, which will reduce an area of stress in their lives and help to prevent caregiver burnout.”

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Thanks you – John Baron, editor.

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