CARERS could be given discounts on various goods and services if a passport scheme becomes a reality, writes Jack Thomson.  

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron has asked Renfrewshire Council to explore the possibility of introducing a card, which would provide perks that recognise the dedication and commitment of carers. 

The SNP elected member will put forward a motion at Thursday’s full council meeting, which says: “Council appreciates the dedication and commitment of unpaid carers and further notes the benefits their in-kind contribution brings to Renfrewshire.

“Council notes that other local authorities provide a carers passport or discount card in recognition of the contribution carers make.

“Council agrees to explore a similar option in Renfrewshire council, to thank carers for the difference they make on a daily basis.”

Speaking about the the motion, Councillor Cameron explained: “The passport scheme could mean engaging with local businesses to ask them to provide discounts on goods or services. 

“It could even include discounted Renfrewshire Leisure classes, either way it is a way of saying thank you to carers for the contribution they make and for their dedication and commitment to those they care for.”

A carer passport was introduced in neighbouring Inverclyde in October, attracting support from more than 60 local businesses including butchers, cafes and fishmongers.

The companies display the passport logo in their window, showing they provide a discount to carers.

Tom Arthur MSP has also pledged his support for the motion.

The SNP politician, who represents Renfrewshire South, said: “Constituents had approached me pointing out that other local authorities provide this benefit, so I wrote to Councillor Cameron as vice-chair of the Integration Joint Board and asked if this is something we could provide for Renfrewshire carers. 

“As a Carer Positive employer, I value the crucial role carers undertake and appreciate the stress it can place them under. 

“A passport of this kind could not only provide financial benefit, it could give carers the opportunity to access classes, which would allow them to take some time out for themselves, when possible.”

The passport would likely be implemented via Renfrewshire Carers Centre who provide support to thousands of carers across the local authority. 

Councillor Cameron added: “Carers can often feel undervalued and overlooked, while steps have been taken at national level to redress this balance, Tom and I wanted to show carers in Renfrewshire they are appreciated and to demonstrate that appreciation in the form of practical help.”

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