Carer calls for free travel after being forced to foodbank

Amanda macdonald

Petition launched to help carers support loved ones 

19th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A carer has launched a petition for free travel after going without food so she could visit her seriously ill mum.

Amanda MacDonald said she was forced to go to foodbanks after spending half her carer's allowance on bus fares.

She gave up college to become her mum Jeanette’s full-time carer after she was diagnosed with dementia aged just 48.

Amanda said she found herself spending nearly half - £28 - of her carer’s allowance on bus fares visiting her mum in hospital.

The 27-year-old, from Paisley, said: “We had to survive on just over £60 each week and most of that went on the basics.

“Often I had to go without food or rely on handouts from foodbanks.

“I really don’t know how we coped, it was a constant struggle from one week to the next.

“Mum was in and out of hospital a lot and visiting her every day would cost £4 in bus fares.

“That adds up to £28 a week, which is a lot of money when you are surviving on a carer’s allowance.”

Jeanette passed away last September and now Amanda is calling for all carers to be given free access to public transport to help tackle the financial situation many are left in when looking after a loved one.

So far nearly more than 3,000 people have signed the petition.

It states: “68.8% of older carers say that being a carer has an adverse affect on their mental health. 

I really don’t know how we coped, it was a constant struggle from one week to the next - Amanda MacDonald

“This could be lessened by such a small change like concessionary travel. For young people aged 16-19 or in full time education who have a Young Scot card you are entitled to a discounted rate of travel however, this discount is only valid on single journeys.

“Is free concessionary transport for carers really too much to ask for when carers dedicate their lives to provide care to others?” 

Jim Pearson, Alzheimer Scotland’s director of policy and research, said: “Taking on a caring commitment can have a substantial financial impact on carers, many of whom may have ongoing financial commitments or dependent families.

“Many have low incomes and may have been forced to cut their hours of work or give up paid employment altogether in order to carry out their caring role.

“The additional costs of travel as part of this caring role can be significant, particularly if that travel is long distance or takes place at peak times.”