The Carers (Scotland) Support Act 2016 was introduced in 2018 with the aim of enhancing the quality of life of carers by supporting them to deliver their caring role. Carers often find themselves overworked, stressed (financially and emotionally) and in need of respite. Through The Act, carers’ needs are ascertained through a Carer’s Assessment that can result in a Carer’s Support Package, delivered by local authorities and local Carers Centres. Existing research in this field focuses on care-experienced young people, young carers and older carers (looking after people with later age diagnoses such as dementia). Important as this work is, it is not well placed to understand the experience of those carers who are of working age and must forego their career or take part time or precarious low paid work to fit in around caring. Living in poverty or on a precariously low income has become an accepted way of life shared by many carers, which The Act seeks to challenge. The twin challenges of caring on an inadequate income are further compounded by the challenges of living in rural and remote areas. This raises interesting questions about the extent to which the new provisions in The Act are well placed to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable (socially, economically and geographically) citizens in Scotland. This research will work with fifteen adult carers living in or on the margins of poverty in different parts of rural Scotland to appraise the effectiveness of The Act in meeting the particular challenges faced by this group. Engaging research participants over a fifteen month period, the research will provide an in-depth analysis of their lived experience and will seek to identify how the poverty experienced can be ameliorated, eradicated and prevented.
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