Carers Support Centre Forum: how can we make Croydon better for carers?
Hands up if you’ve ever been asked for your views, and gone away not feeling heard?
We asked our first Carers Support Centre Forum this question - and the majority put up their hand.
Carers are frequently consulted by various organisations. But many are weary of giving up precious time away from their caring role to fill in surveys and attend consultation meetings, only for their views to be ignored and for business to carry on as usual.
The Carers Support Centre Forum aims to be different. The focus on each meeting is chosen by the group, as a group. Carers have opportunities to meet decision makers and put their views across on their terms. In the future, they may choose to set up local campaigns and raise awareness.
Our first meeting
15 Croydon carers put themselves forward to represent local carers in the borough. We had nine carers attend our first meeting to discuss the question: How can we make Croydon better for carers?
After a name game to help us get to know one another better, it was down to business with an update from Rachel Carse from Croydon Council on the Croydon Carers Strategy 2018-2022. Members were particularly interested in the provision for young carers and training available to spread awareness. They were also keen to feed back further on the actions in the strategy.
How can we make Croydon better for carers?
The forum then took part in a workshop on How can we make Croydon better for carers? To help the group generate ideas, we used a sticky wall (pictured below). Carers came up with their initial responses to the question, generating a lively discussion on communication between services and carers (or lack thereof), and the importance of services working closely together to support carers’ needs.
Carers then grouped their ideas into the following themes:
Theme 1: Timely, joined up services.
Theme 2: Supporting carers’ health and wellbeing.
Theme 3: Practical help (particularly finances and form-filling).
Theme 4: Reaching out to carers into all sections of the community.
Theme 5: More support for working carers
These five themes will shape the next five Forum meetings and invited speakers.
Good feedback from carers
Carers who attended the Forum were generally very positive about the session, and keen to attend next month.
The Carers Support Centre Forum is currently at full membership, but there are still ways to get involved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can add you to our contact list, and send you information about other meetings and opportunities to offer feedback.