Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy at the University of Bath, Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones, is available for media interviews in relation to the recently announced government strategy to help the 1.5 million people working in adult social care in response to coronavirus.

Her recent work has focused on adult social care, in particular in relation to the many millions providing informal social care to family members around the country. In 2019, she published work focused on the multiple challenges faced by older adult carers some in their 80s and 90s, providing social care to their adult children with learning disabilities.

Commenting, she explained: “As a researcher, but also as someone who has worked in adult social care, it feels as though it has taken a pandemic for the government to finally recognise the value of this type of work in providing support and assistance to so many people around the country. Anything that can be done to help those people working in these roles and in complex social care settings, especially during this incredibly difficult period, has to be welcomed.

“But what has been announced needs to go further – in particular when it comes to helping those providing informal care day in, day out to their family members. Last year, I interviewed 21 carers providing support to family members in informal settings. Their average age was 73 – the oldest was 93. These people, who all tick the ‘vulnerable’ and ‘at risk’ groups, and who are all still continuing to care for their older adult children with learning disabilities need our support too.

“The new CARE badge of honour, which has been proposed as part of other measures for those in formal social care and would be similar to those for NHS workers, of course could have important practical benefits. But where is the badge for those providing informal care? They need to be recognised just as much.”

There are estimated to be nearly 7 million people providing vital support for family members through informal care in the UK. Read more about Rachel’s research into the plight of informal adult carers, published in 2019