The Princess Royal Respite Fund for Carers aims to raise £3 million over the next three years for Carers Trust’s respite services.
Her Royal Highness is president of the Carers Trust and the fund is in her namesake to mark her birthday last August.
The Carers Trust said there is increasing demand for social care in the community due to an ageing UK population, with unpaid family carers spending more time helping their loved ones than before.
“This increase in demand, however, has not been matched by adequate investment in social care, leading to the withdrawal of many essential services for both carers and those they care for,” said the trust.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it said two thirds of carers were caring 50 hours or more per week and lockdown meant even longer hours spent carrying out this work.
“Unsurprisingly, many unpaid carers are exhausted. They talk of being ‘burnt out’ and ‘at breaking point’ due to the constant need to provide round-the-clock care.”
It said the need for respite breaks to help carers recharge so they can continue in their roles “has never been more urgent”.
The fund wants to provide 30,000 carers with grants via the trust’s network of more than 120 local partners.
John McLean, chairman of Carers Trust board of trustees, said: “As most of us begin to emerge from months of lockdown, many unpaid carers will be staying at home to continue providing round-the-clock care for a loved one without the prospect of even the smallest break.
“They need our support right now, and that is why Carers Trust is launching the Respite Fund, so we can support more carers to have time to themselves and the breaks they both need and deserve.
“On behalf of my fellow colleagues and trustees, I would like to thank her royal highness for her unstinting support which has made the Respite Fund possible.”
Martin McMillan OBE, who was appointed to chair the Appeal Board, emphasised how “physically and mentally demanding” being full-time unpaid carer is.
“It’s no exaggeration to say these unsung heroes are the glue holding society together. So we must do all we can to support them and help them continue in their caring role,” he added.
“I can think of no better way to do that than by donating to this fund. All the money raised will be used to ensure unpaid carers get what they say they need most – a break, time to themselves when they can collect their thoughts and re-energise themselves.
“I urge everyone to do what they can to support this fund. It will make a greater difference for these unsung heroes than we can ever know.”