We took the girls to the Imperial War Museum North yesterday, as it has an exhibition of children's books about war, Once Upon a Wartime, in which they had both expressed an interest. Wandering around the exhibits, I noticed this poster:
It struck a chord with me, being a carer and all that. And it made me quite sad that attitudes have become so hardened against those in need today. This same poster could be used in reference to those people who care for sick or disabled people - "It Might Be You" is certainly just as true in terms of sudden ill health or disability - and yet rather than considering this to be 'a national service', our current government (and, shamefully, some of the Opposition) see carers as part of the 'scroungers' demographic.
For the princely sum of £58pw (lower than JSA), carers provide an invaluable public service, saving 'taxpayers' (of which I was one for 20+ years) much of the cost of caring for the most needy in society. I am 'free' to work as well, as long as I don't exceed £100 per week. Of course, finding a job which is compatible with my caring responsibilities (term-time only, with the beginning and end of the day free and where the employer is happy for me to have to dash off at a moment's notice to deal with a crisis) is pretty much impossible at the moment, so the level of pay becomes irrelevant.
My daughter's school see me as very much part of the team helping her to access education (indeed, I spend as much time there some weeks as the staff and pupils), so why does the government see me as a problem?
"Ah, but that was wartime!" you might say. But even so, both the hosts and the billeting officers received payment for taking/placing evacuees. This wasn't people taking in East End kids out of the goodness of their hearts (Indeed, there are some instances of hosts treating their evacuees very badly), not an early version of the Big Society, doing good works for free. What there was, though, was a recognition by government, that caring was valuable 'work'
By the way, I would recommend IWMN. It's a fine place and especially good if you need to find inexpensive days out!