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Carers Week: Working for Carers

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 08/06/2015

A new ‘Working for Carers’ project is being launched in South Gloucestershire during Carers Week (June 8 to 14).

This is a partnership project between the Carers Support Centre (Bristol & South Gloucestershire), with South Gloucestershire Council and the South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. It is one of nine pilot sites in England chosen to develop support for carers in paid employment.

Nearly half of carers work alongside caring and some may struggle to juggle the two. Without the right support, the strain of caring and working can force carers to reduce their working hours or leave employment altogether. This creates financial difficulties for the carer and a skills/experience deficit for the employer.

Keith Sinclair, Chief Executive at the Carers Support Centre, said: “This pilot aims to make workplaces more ‘carer friendly’ so that carers can work in an environment that supports them. This will be achieved by providing information and support, raising awareness and using technology.”

Carers could be using smart phones, assisted technology and text alerts to help them plan and co-ordinate formal and informal support. The pilot will explore how technology can be combined with professional support from the Local Authority and the assistance of informal networks of friends, neighbours and volunteers to ease the pressure of caring.

The pilot will also raise awareness of caring and caring issues in the workplace and deliver this in a targeted way, for example with presentations to management teams and workshops for HR professionals. An employers’ toolkit will be trialled along with an accreditation scheme; and there will be networking opportunities for employers to share good practice around ‘carer friendly’ policies and working practices.

The project will work with employers to identify carers’ champions, likely to be someone with HR responsibilities. It will also help set up staff carer networks and groups, where carers can exchange information, learn from each other and provide peer to peer support. It will also offer employers training for carers, to help them juggle work and care.

South Gloucestershire Council’s commissioning manager Denise Swain said: “Through this pilot we are prioritising a range of actions to help keep carers in work, including working with employers to promote best practice, exploring and testing new technology, and developing new volunteering opportunities to support carers and the person they care for.”

Paul Frisby, Partnership Manager at South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re delighted to be launching the project alongside the Carers Support Centre and South Gloucestershire Council. It’s a great initiative and we hope to raise awareness of carers in employment and develop ways of helping to support them and ensure that their workplaces do not lose their skills and experience.”

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