Community and not-for-profit organisations can apply for almost $5 million worth of federal grants to set up local services aimed at boosting the physical and mental well being of informal carers.

It comes after a survey of almost 2000 NSW-based carers released in October found they feel overworked, undervalued and in need of respite, with many saying their own wellbeing is suffering as a result.

Announcing the $493 million, five-year funding round on Thursday, Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said the grants would help insure that carers got help before they reached crisis point.

He previously models of carer support relied on a crisis-driven approach, but the government wanted to shift the focus to early intervention for Australia’s 2.7 million carers.

“Getting support early can make a big difference to a carer’s life, helping to reduce emotional or physical strain, improve wellbeing, help carers to stay in work or study, and assist them to plan for the future,” he said in a statement.

Assistant social services minister Sarah Henderson said successful applicants will have to demonstrate they have the ability and experience to deliver tailored and targeted local support for carers such as counselling, coaching and financial support packages.

Applications open on Friday and close on February 14. To apply, go here  or call 1800 020 283.

You can read about some innovative carer support programs which are being funded by the NSW government here.

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