A one-stop information and advice service for the unsung army of carers who look after ill, frail or disabled friends and relatives was officially launched today by Care Services Minister Phil Hope.
The Carers Direct hotline will make England's 5 million carers' lives easier and reduce the time and stress of searching out essential advice.
The launch comes on the one-year anniversary of the publication of the government's Carers Strategy. Since last year carers are being given more planned breaks and better information about their rights and the support available to them. Later this year, they will also receive more support to get or return to work.
Speaking at the launch of Carers Direct in Islington, Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:
"I know that carers' lives are often made unnecessarily difficult if they have to struggle to find the information, advice and support they need. I hope Carers Direct will put this right.
"I have huge respect and admiration for the 5 million carers in England, who do fantastic work every day. The Carers Strategy has already gone a long way to better support carers, but there is still a lot of work to do."
Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, at the event said: "The government wants to make sure carers get the help and support they need to overcome their barriers to work, fulfil their potential and build a better life for themselves and their families.
"The Carers Direct helpline will work hand in hand with our own information on the DirectGov website to ensure carers are given the help and support they need."