Tom Arthur MSP has reiterated his support for Scotland’s carers while hosting a Parliamentary reception on behalf of Carers Scotland.

The “Celebrating Carers in Scotland” event, held on June 11 at the Scottish Parliament, marked the 25th Anniversary of Carers Week (10-16 June) and represented an opportunity to recognise the incomparable contribution of Scotland’s 759,000 carers.

The reception also marked the 5th anniversary of the Carer Positive Employer Initiative.

This Scottish Government funded initiative aims to encourage employers to create a supportive working environment for carers in the workplace.

Supporting carers to manage the sometimes difficult job of balancing work with caring responsibilities can deliver real benefits to employers as well as helping individuals and their families. Unfortunately many carers give up work because the job of juggling their work and caring responsibilities simply becomes too much.

Around 1 in 7 of the workforce will be carers holding down a job alongside managing their caring responsibilities, but carers are an often overlooked demographic. Carers Scotland estimates that the work of carers contributes the equivalent of around £10.8 billion to the economy each year and will likely increase as the population continues to age.

The award incorporates 3 levels or stages, from ‘engaged’ to ‘established’ through to ‘exemplary’. These stages are cumulative and enable employers to progress from one stage to the next, building from an initial level of commitment to embedding a culture of support for carers within their working environment.

As the first MSP to be accredited as a Carer Positive Employer, Tom Arthur MSP has since championed the initiative in the Scottish Parliament and beyond and has now progressed to established status. During the reception, he was presented with this award by Director of Carers Scotland Simon Hodgson and Mental Health Minister Maree Todd, who also addressed guests.

Commenting, Tom Arthur MSP, who is Co-convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group on Carers, said:

“It was a pleasure to host Carers Scotland for a Scottish Parliament reception to mark Carers Week, highlighting the importance of carers and carer positive organisations in Scotland. It was great to see such a positive turnout at the event and take this opportunity to celebrate the immense contribution carers make to our society.

“I am also delighted to receive the Carer Positive Employer Established award. Joining this initiative shows a clear commitment to supporting the needs and circumstances of carers in the workforce, and I will continue to encourage fellow MSPs and local employers to join the initiative and do just that”.

Simon Hodgson, Director of Carers Scotland added:

“We are very grateful indeed to Tom Arthur MSP for hosting last night’s event in the Scottish Parliament and delighted to recognise him as the first MSP to have gained Carer Positive Established recognition. 

“Tom has been a strong advocate of the initiative since he became the first MSP to hold the award and continues to raise awareness with colleagues and employers of the challenges faced by working carers and the benefits of good workplace support”.

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