PEOPLE looking after loved ones can play a valuable role in helping to shape the support available to carers in the future, writes David Carnduff.
That’s the view of a new group which is encouraging carers to go along to its meetings and share their experiences with others.
The Care Collective hosted their first Café Conversation at UnderCOVER in Barrhead last week when people of all ages spoke out their roles as carers.
The group heard moving stories of how at times they felt let down by the system and how difficult it was to find information about the support available.
Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire (VAER) is working alongside Thrive, specialists in collaborative public service improvement, to support The Care Collective to draw upon their personal knowledge, experience and creativity to shape the support available to carers.
Lynne Wardle at Thrive said: “We are connecting people who care for someone to share experiences and ideas about what the right kind of support, at the right time, from the right person would look like, and how we might use the resources available to us to make that a reality.”
“We know that there are many people out there who do not see themselves as a ‘carer’ and may view their caring duties simply as part of being a son or a daughter, a husband, wife or friend.
“It’s really important that these folk also become part of this community conversation. Caring for those around us comes in all forms. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to people’s ability to live a happy healthy life”
One participant at the first Café Conversation said: “Learning through word of mouth is really important. We all need to talk about caring more. The Care Collective is an opportunity to do that and I’m passionate about supporting it.”
New legislation, The Carers Act, requires that by 2018 all local authorities will work with carers to identify what they need and make resources available to ensure they are supported.
Research shows that three out of five of us will become carers at some stage in our lives and one in 10 of us is already fulfilling some sort of caring role.
Lynne said: “People who care provide invaluable support, not just to those they care for, but also to our wider community. Without the love and support people who care provide, our society simply couldn’t function. But what happens when someone who cares needs some care themselves?
People wanting more information should get in touch with Ruth Gallagher at VAER on 0141 876 9555, email firstname.lastname@example.org or look on the website www.carecollectiveeastren.com.