Carers are an incredibly important asset to the NHS, saving it £132 billion per year (Carers UK). However, carers often do not receive the recognition or support that they deserve, and need. The NHS is now setting out a plan to respond to the needs of carers and support them in their caring role. This will include involving the carer as well as the patient in care. The idea is to support carers to provide better care and stay well themselves.
On Friday 23rd March, Michaela Griffiths, our Wellbeing Coordinator and USE-IT Project Facilitator attended the Connecting Carers event at Birmingham City Football Club. The aim of the event was to give carers in Birmingham the opportunity to see the city’s offer and commitment to them. This offer includes the commissioning of a Single Point of Access Hub that will provide access to a wide range of support and services to carers in Birmingham.
The event was also attended by local carers who were given the opportunity to attend two workshops where they could share their views and experiences of the current support system. Some problem areas were highlighted, including:
- The need to improve care for BME
- The importance of getting the right people for the right job
- The need to see the projection of health and wellbeing/carers interventions
- The need for those who work in social carer to be experienced in their field
- The need to recognise the carer’s expertise in caring for their family and friends and the toll that caring takes on the carers’ own health
During the event our representative, Michaela, joined in the discussion with carers who shared their experiences and the changes they wish to see. She shared information about the support that she can offer to carers, with the Health Exchange Wellbeing Coordinator service and collected further information from other support providers.
Michaela was particularly interested to learn about the development of a new website: Birmingham Connect to Support. It’s an online information and advice guide, community directory and marketplace for carers in Birmingham. The website is now live at: https://birmingham.connecttosupport.org/s4s/WhereILive/Council?pageId=3859&lockLA=True
Michaela was inspired by the carers who took time out of their already busy days to come to the event and offer support to other carers. One carer, Sadiq Muray, presented to the audience about his role as a carer, sharing his day-to-day challenges and experiences and the sacrifices he and his family have had to make in order to care for his wife.
Following the event, Michaela said: “This has been a valuable insight into the lives of a carers and it is fantastic to see more support starting to be provided to those who do so much for others!”