Supporting and empowering ethnically diverse carers
We’re excited to work with Diversity Resource International (DRI) focusing on supporting and empowering carers from ethnically diverse communities in East Sussex. Ruqia Osman, Race Equality Community Development Worker, DRI, explains more about the initiative.
“We’re delivering a project that will help to identify and address the barriers that carers from ethnically diverse communities face. They have the same challenges as all carers, however, they face additional barriers such as cultural and language barriers which can increase the risks of poorer health outcomes, poverty and social exclusion.
There are two initiatives involved with this project: a peer support carer group and research focus groups.
Peer support group
Facilitating a peer support group, we’ll be working with diverse carers to identify and address the barriers they experience when accessing support and engaging with local services. The group can help to build a middle ground for increasing carers’ confidence and trust to access the help they need. The eventual aim is for the support group to be led by carers for carers in diverse communities.
The peer support group takes place on Wednesday 30th June, 6.30pm-7.30pm and is open to carers across East Sussex. More information and book here.
The focus groups will be held in Rother, Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill and will give ethnically diverse carers the opportunity to have their voices heard by sharing their views and experiences of the barriers and struggles they face. Carers can really get involved and be part of the change they would like to see. Recommendations from the groups’ feedback will be shared with East Sussex organisations to influence changes to support services.
Both initiatives will help to address the cultural and/or religion challenges that can prevent carers feeling comfortable and confident to access local services.
According to Carers UK research, ethnically diverse carers experience higher rates of poverty. Statistically, diverse communities live in socially deprived areas and there is less opportunity to move out of poverty into work and hold positions where flexible working is more acceptable. There can be stigma associated with caring for a family member, for instance with mental health issues. Carers can also feel fear or shame, which prevents them from seeking external help – and can be perceived as interference.
There is a lack of awareness of what an unpaid carer is, so people don’t identify themselves as a carer and therefore don’t have the knowledge that support is available.
There are specific and varied needs with local, diverse communities that can impact accessing culturally appropriate services. This project will give insight into the individual experiences that carers from ethnically diverse communities are having, and the associated different needs and issues.
Language is a key barrier as information is mostly only in an English format, so there is no access to information that can be easily understood. Similarly, some ethnically diverse carers may not be able to communicate nor inform local services of their needs because it is a struggle to be understood, and therefore be heard.”
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