Family Carers Ireland (FCI) is the national charity supporting the 500,000+ family carers across the country who care for loved ones such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges or addiction.
As a not-for-profit organisation, FCI supports family carers and young carers through the provision of free emergency care planning, counselling, specialised training and education programmes, wellbeing support, crisis management, emergency respite, advocacy, peer support groups, information on rights and entitlements and many other initiatives.
Approximately half of all carers (53%) also juggle their caring responsibilities with paid employment. To support those balancing paid work with care, FCI has created a bespoke Caring Employers Programme that aims to support employers by providing them with practical tools to support their employees who are also family carers. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Caring Employers programme supported employees through one-to-one carer clinics, delivering webinar sessions on the coping with behaviours that challenge as well as information sessions on difficult legal topics – power of attorney and planning for long-term nursing home care.
As the majority of carers are women, with many also having childcare responsibilities, this programme supports women to remain in employment. For carers outside the paid workforce who want to return to work or study, FCI offers a free Working Care Out project. A range of supports is offered, including one-to-one wellbeing reviews, access to a drop-in clinic, online group support and skill development programme.
FCI also works to influence and advance carer policy through engagement with Government and key stakeholders. FCI’s policy and public affairs agenda is grounded in the reality of carers’ experiences and supported with the evidence gained through a robust programme of research.