CLAIRE Baker has praised local carers for the "vital" support they give and called for greater recognition of their efforts at an event in Lochgelly.

The Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife spoke out at a Young Carers Group afternoon tea at St Serf's Church, to mark the beginning of Carers Week 2019.

As part of the annual awareness campaign to support Scotland’s 759,000 carers and 29,000 young carers, hundreds of events took place across the country.

Ms Baker said: “Most of us will care for someone, or be cared for, at some stage in our lives so it’s important for everyone to speak more openly about caring and for all of us to help support our carers practically and emotionally.

“Carers provide vital support for their loved ones and their contribution to society needs to be recognised and supported so carers feel valued, understood and connected to their communities."

The theme of Carers Week this year aimed to help carers get the support they need to care without putting off their own health needs or risking social relationships.

New research has revealed unpaid carers are seven times more likely to be lonely compared with the general public, with 35 per cent of unpaid carers saying they are always or often lonely.