A collaborative approach to championing carers and their rights

Dudley CVS’s Carer Coordinator is a partner of the newly formed Dudley Carers Alliance, a partnership of statutory and voluntary organisations as well as individual carers, which works together to develop and progress Dudley Carers Strategy. Dudley Carers Alliance meets to encourage local people who provide unpaid care to their friends and loved ones to participate in local decision making.

Dudley Carers Alliance’s theme for 2016 was around encouraging employers to become carer friendly. The Alliance also promoted the pledge during Carers Rights Day on 25 November, a day that brings together organisations across the UK to help carers caring for family members or friends know their rights and find out how they can get help and support. On the day, Dudley CVS Carer Coordinator organised a ‘Raising Awareness Afternoon Tea’ for outpatients at Russells Hall Hospital, accompanied by Healthwatch Dudley staff and volunteers.

The afternoon tea event was organised to communicate with staff, outpatients and visitors about caring for family members and to inform them of the support that was available in Dudley, as well as promote The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley CVS Carer Friendly Employer Pledge. Andrew McMenemy, HR Director from The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, joined the ‘Raising Awareness Afternoon Tea’ to discuss the issues faced by family carers who often struggle to maintain employment and the importance of ensuring that they felt valued by their employer. Dudley Carers Alliance launched the Dudley Carer Friendly Employer Pledge to encourage local employers to become Carer friendly workplaces and support carers balancing work with caring responsibilities.

In the build up to Carers Rights Day, Dudley CVS, Dudley MBC, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Sainsbury’s Amblecote all signed the pledge and continue to spread the word about the initiative. Our Carer Coordinator and Older Peoples nursing staff also raised awareness about the Carer Passport, introduced by the hospital earlier in 2016. This followed the hospital’s commitment to John’s Campaign, a national Campaign highlighting the value of carers in a hospital setting to support the needs of the those they care for by offering flexibility over visiting time. The Carers Passport is available to any main carer of someone with a long-term condition who is an inpatient at the hospital and they can ask for one from nursing staff.

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