Research search for ‘invisible’ carers

There are thought to be over 70,000 people with a learning disability living in Wales today and yet only 12,000 or so are known to social services. This would, therefore, appear to indicate that many tens of thousands of people with a learning disability are living with family carers. 

Bangor University, in collaboration with Mencap Cymru and Cartrefi Cymru, has launched a major new research project looking at the health of family carers.

By hearing from carers looking after an adult relative (age 25 or over) with a learning disability within their family homes, the research hopes to find out more about what it is like to be a carer, what support carers’ receive from friends and family, social services and voluntary organisations to help with their care role and how carers would rate their own health. 

Co-collaborator, Wayne Crocker, Director, Mencap Cymru said :

“We’re very pleased to be co-funding this important research at Bangor University with Cartrefi Cymru.  Informal family carers save the government millions of pounds a year but at what personal cost?  We hope this research will uncover the true impact upon carers and those they care for and support for a living situation people take for granted with little or no help from the state.”

Adrian Roper, CEO, Cartrefi Cymru commented:

“Cartrefi Cymru hope that the study will raise the profile of family carers' well-being as an important issue for the commissioners and providers of health and social services in Wales.”

The research is being conducted by Jillian Grey at the School of Psychology.

Jillian said “I’m hoping to use my experience of working with families in the field of learning disability research over a number of years, to gain a better understanding of the pressures faced on a daily basis by family carers whose contribution to social care is often undervalued”

People able to take part can either complete an on-line survey: 

or contact the School of Psychology on 01248 388255 or via e mail to

Jill's research scholarship is funded under the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) Programme. KESS is a major European Convergence programme led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. Benefiting from European Social Funds (ESF), KESS supports collaborative research projects (Research Masters and PhD) with external partners based in the Convergence area of Wales (West Wales and the Valleys).  Both the Research Masters and PhD elements are integrated with a high-level skills training programme, leading to a Postgraduate Skills Development Award. KESS will run until 2014 and will provide 400+ PhD and Masters places.

Publication date: 13 March 2013