MANY Wee County carers are not receiving the full range of support receive they are entitled to, according to one local practitioner.

Ahead of Carers Rights Day on November 30, the Advertiser spoke to Ian McCourt, from Falkirk and Clacks Carers Centre, to raise awareness of the support available to carers locally.

Despite there being around 6,000 unpaid carers in the Wee County, Ian claimed many do not know what help they can get – and some are unaware they even qualify as carers.

He said: "It might be somebody that goes around once a day and puts eyedrops in their mum's eye, or somebody that's caring 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"It could also be that someone's a carer for several months, or that someone's a carer for decades.

"They just think they're a son or a husband or a wife looking after a loved one.

"Sometimes it's only when their own health breaks down, or they can't take anymore that someone says: 'You're a carer and you're entitled to support'.

"The big thing for us is to get to somebody before it's a crisis."

Under the Scottish Government's Carer's Charter, which came into force this year, a carer is anyone who provides (or intends to provide) care for another person, provided it is not due to their age (where they are under 18), or due to a contractual or voluntary obligation.

For anyone that does fall under that definition, the Carers (Scotland) Act, which also came into force this year, entitles them to their own Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP).

Ian said: "They (ACSPs) detail what the carer's needs are, and what kind of support they can get.

"That will help them sustain their caring role."

There is also work being done through the Clacks and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure carers' own health and wellbeing is looked after.

For anyone unsure whether they qualify for support, or who wants to discuss their caring responsibilities with someone, the Falkirk and Clacks Carers Centre is always open.

Ian said: "Some people might just require a leaflet, or to be told they can go and speak to someone – and that's enough.

"Others need a little bit more help, and what we provide is informed support to those who need it.

"We see carers on a one-to-one basis, or we see them in a group setting, or we see them and we provide training."

The centre currently offers training in over 60 different areas of caring.

But, for those who just need a short break and a chance to unwind, the group also arrange social event, offering carers a chance to relax and chat with others in a similar position.

Any Clacks residents who feel they might qualify as a carer, and who want to discuss their role in any way, can get in touch with the Carers Centre at