Annual Carers Voices Conference 2020: Six months on
You said… we did…
Our online Carers Voices Conference which took place in July 2020 may feel like a distant memory given the busy year it’s been, but we thought it was about time to update you on what happened next. You can view the conference content, recommendations, and full report here.
The key findings and recommendations from the Annual Carers Voices Conference 2020 were presented at a range of strategic meetings, shared with key decision-makers, partners and all who participated in the conference, and have informed Care for the Carers’ strategic and operational planning over the past six months.
Care for the Carers has sought to influence partners to achieve positive change for carers in relation to the recommendations, and our team has been busily working away on actions to take forward each of the recommendations that came out of the conference.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been working on
1. We have been actively participating in statutory and voluntary sector COVID-19 response planning discussions to lobby for carers’ needs to be taken into account, for example, through involvement with local COVID-19 vaccination roll-out planning and raising awareness of carers in COVID-19 response fora.
2. We have been urging partner organisations to consider the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities and the associated increased prevalence in carers from BAME communities, and working collaboratively to reach these carers. We have worked with a local BAME community organisation, Diversity Resource International, to secure funding for some targeted engagement work with carers from BAME communities from April 2021.
3. In response to the recommendation that carers should be given regular access to timely, relevant information and support through Health and Social Care, we have delivered Think Carer training, our carer awareness training programme, to many Health and Social Care and voluntary sector practitioners, encouraging them to routinely identify carers and offer referral to the Carers Centre, and have launched a partnership project with four Hastings GPs surgeries to increase carer-friendly practice. We have also made a request for hospital appointment letters to include standard text regarding carer identification and support, and will continue to lobby for this. We have developed referral pathways with several Health and Social Care and voluntary sector organisations, and will continue to lobby for further pathways to be developed.
4. We shared with partners our learning about carers needs for services to be delivered through both online and offline formats, and have designed our own services with this awareness in mind.
5. We have promoted awareness of carers’ digital support (provided by our partner, Association of Carers – see Computer Help at Home – Association of Carers), in order to support those carers who want help to get online.
6. We have continued to give carers opportunities to talk about the impact of their caring role, through a range of services including emotional support, counselling, peer support, and support, advice and guidance.
7. We continue to work in partnership with national carers’ organisations, and supported Carers UK’s ‘Fairer for Carers’ campaign, to lobby for an increase in Carers Allowance levels and an overhaul of carers’ benefits that recognise the enormous contribution carers make.
8. We continue to work with local employers to implement a range of carer-friendly employment benefits, including Carer’s Leave, flexible working, and referral for support, and we responded to the Government consultation regarding implementing a statutory right to Carer’s Leave in August 2020.
9. Finally, we worked in partnership with East Sussex County Council to consult with carers about the recommissioning of home care services in East Sussex, by promoting a focus group and survey in November 2020.
As well as acting on the recommendations from the conference, we also continue to run focus groups and consultations on live issues for carers. If you would like to hear about these opportunities, please sign up to our Carers Voices Network – find out more here or call us on 01323 738390.