Twelve care workers and members of UNISON trade union will walk thirty-three miles this weekend in order to draw attention to the social care crisis.
The carers will begin their walk on Friday (1st October) in Burnley and will travel through Accrington, Blackburn, Darwen, Egerton, Bolton and Salford, before ending in Manchester on Sunday (3rd October).
The care workers will finish their walk by joining a large march and demonstration outside the Conservative Party Conference, which begins in Manchester on Sunday. The Manchester protest is organised by the People’s Assembly and supported by several trade unions including UNISON.
Whilst walking from Burnley to Manchester, the care workers hope to speak to members of the public, other care workers and politicians about the plight of the social care sector. They will also be raising money and collecting food for local food banks along the route.
Brett Marsden is a care worker in Lancashire and an organiser of the Stand Up and Walk for Social Care initiative. He said:
“Last year, we watched as politicians stood on their doorsteps and clapped for carers. We are walking to Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to tell the Government that it’s time they turned the clapping into action.
“As care workers, we want to deliver high quality care, but we are not being given the tools to do so. And we are not being treated with respect- care work is underpaid, understaffed and unsupported.”
“The social care sector is in crisis and we hope that our walk draws attention to this problem so that we can convince the Government to make a genuine effort to save social care.”
Denise Bradley, UNISON Bridgewater Community Health branch secretary said:
“The Government said 2 years ago that they would ’fix’ the social care sector. But in the Queen’s speech, the social care sector was overlooked yet again.
“The Government’s recent solution to the care crisis has simply been to raise taxes through a national insurance hike. This will do nothing to solve the huge problems in the sector and penalises care workers themselves who so sorely need a pay increase, not a tax increase. To make matters worse, most of the funding generated from this tax-rise won’t even be spent on social care.
“It’s time for the Government to act on their promise to better fund social care by reforming and rebuilding social care to provide higher quality care services, better care worker pay and improved working conditions.
“It speaks volumes that care workers- the experts on the sector- felt that the only way they could be listened to is by walking over thirty miles to Conservative Party Conference. It’s time for the Government to listen.”
Friday 1st October: Burnley Town Hall, start time 8am, Accrington arrive approx. 10.10am, Blackburn Town Hall arrival time approx. 12.30pm
Saturday 2nd October Day 2: Blackburn Town Hall start time 8am, Darwen arrive approx. 9.40am, Egerton, arrive Bolton Town Hall approx. 1.30pm.
Sunday 3rd October Day 3: Bolton Town Hall start time 7am, arrive Salford approx. 10 am, arrive at Whitworth Park, Manchester at approx. 11.30pm.