Making Carers Count - Adult carers from under-represented groups
Carers Trust is supporting local carer organisations to create local, meaningful and strategic projects to improve engagement with unpaid carers currently under-represented in receiving local carer support services. This includes unpaid carers from ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ carers, male carers, parent carers, working carers and unpaid carers supporting someone with problematic substance use.
Camden Carers offers information, advice and support to unpaid adult carers (18+) living, working or studying in Camden, or caring for someone who lives in Camden. Camden Carers is also the gateway to a wide range of services provided by other local organisations and agencies working with carers in Camden.
About the project
At Camden Carers, we are working to support unpaid carers from ethnically diverse backgrounds. We are predominantly focusing on the Bengali community, the Somali community and the Chinese community.
The key activities we have been delivering are:
- Partnership working with community organisations to identify and support unpaid carers.
- Delivering carer awareness training to both statutory and non-statutory services in the borough.
- Working with staff internally to make our organisational processes more equitable.
- Working with ethnically diverse carers currently using our service, to gather feedback and implement change.
We run a bi-monthly Carer Focus Group for ethnically diverse carers currently using our service. The aim of the sessions is to gather feedback from carers about our services, so we can implement positive change in the organisation. The group also functions as a social space, where carers can come together and share experiences. The following feedback, received from a carer who is part of the group, was a project highlight:
“I think the sessions are becoming more relational. The earlier apprehension of not really saying the "heartfelt" concerns are fading. For me personally? I do appreciate both of your gentle ways of communicating. Sure, as we continue to meet together the sessions will become more purposeful to make a difference not just for us, but beyond us - touching lives, making better.”
Carers First works directly with and for unpaid carers to provide personalised information and support; making it easier for those caring for someone else to live their lives to the fullest. We currently serve carers across eight areas in the South-East, London, East Midlands and East of England. We reach over 100,000 carers through community work, online and social media and provide one-to-one and group support to 15,000 carers.
About the project
To identify and support Turkish and Kurdish carers living in Haringey and Hackney. This under-represented community of carers has timely access to a dedicated worker who understands their evolving needs and can provide ongoing, trusting, person-centered support before they reach crisis. Working in partnership they help deliver positive, wellbeing interventions including day trips, wellbeing activities, drop-in surgeries, outreach sessions and access to dedicated benefits advice.
Due to our outreach work in the Turkish and Kurdish community in Hackney, Carers First monthly women’s wellbeing group attendance has increased so much that we now have two wellbeing group meetings each month. Male Turkish and Kurdish carers have also asked for they own wellbeing group, which will be commencing in May.
Sussex Carers Partnership
The Sussex Carers Partnership is a collective of three Network Partners, who have worked together for many years on a number of pan-Sussex activities. Collectively we have over 40,000 carers registered with us and provide a range of services and support for carers, including practical information, peer support through carer groups, emotional support counselling, advice around benefits entitlements, and a well-deserved break from their caring role through carer grants.
About the project
We recognise that carers will have their own unique experiences but some carers from ethnically diverse backgrounds are more likely, than White British carers, to find that local services and support do not meet their needs appropriately. This includes the challenge of finding services that reflect their cultural and/or spiritual needs, as well as the needs of their loved one. Language can also be a barrier for some, where they face difficulty in finding out about services that can help. Without understanding what the options of support are, many carers are unable to make informed decisions about their caring situation. Therefore, our project aims to support adult carers (aged 18+) from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
The key activities we are delivering as part of Making Carers Count are:
· Providing direct 1:1 support for carers to help them understand what support options are available for their caring role and helping them to navigate systems of support.
· Offering a safe and confidential bilingual and/or culturally specific counselling service (delivered over the phone) to help carers make sense of their emotions and to improve carer wellbeing.
· Mapping local support organisations as part of a directory for signposting purposes.
· Working with local key community partners to host carer awareness events and activities.
· Working in partnership with carers as part of a Sussex Carers Reference Group to design bespoke training content and materials for health and/or social care professionals.
· Producing translated resources and posters to help increase carer identification and registration pan-Sussex.
A project highlight for us is the creation of translated posters and leaflets in 12 languages to help increase carer awareness and referrals for support. These have been a great asset in sharing information about carers’ support in local communities we serve pan-Sussex and helped us to bridge the gap for some carers, for whom English is not a first or fluent language.
Carers Trust Heart of England
Our organisation is medium sized, supporting unpaid carers with wellbeing services and supporting them to take a break by providing respite support and support in case of emergency for their cared for. We have four Wellbeing Teams in Warwickshire and Coventry supporting carers from five onwards. We work in the community across Coventry and Warwickshire supporting Carers. We work closely with both local authorities, health, and other stakeholders. We provide statutory Carers assessments for Carers and support them to look at contingencies. Carers’ voices are at the heart of everything we do. Therefore, we are always reviewing and developing our services to respond to the changing needs of Carers. Especially post Covid and the current cost of living crisis.
About the project
To reach out to communities across Coventry to provide Carer training awareness courses. Support communities to engage with services in their local area. We provide Carers support groups, respite activities, information, training and ensure Carers are recognised and supported well, from a wide range of communities and ensure the voice of communities are heard.
A project highlight for us would be the rise in engagement with our cultural carer’s groups and key events such as the Diwali event. The feedback from the carers was wonderful. A video is currently being put together that includes some of our carers from minoritised ethnic communities. In the video, they talk in different languages about their caring roles and how receiving support has made a difference to them. Watching a preview of this really highlighted the importance of the work we do and why staff are so motivated to do what they do each day.
Carers Trust Mid Yorkshire
Cares Trust Mid Yorkshire provide well deserved breaks for unpaid carers across Kirklees, Wakefield, Leeds and Calderdale. Our services are predominantly funded by local council but we do offer a private paying option as well as direct payments.
We deliver a high standard of care and offer an extensive training program for our front-line staff. We do personal care, social outings, support visits to name a few. We have a wide range of services that cover children, adults, end of life care as well as children’s club. Respite visits in the community for adults and children Wakefield children’s holiday club. We also run adult group session and children day center.
About the project
The aim of the Making Carers Count project is:
· Widening our collaboration with Pakistani community group.
· Developing our understanding and identify barriers carers are facing in accessing the services.
· Developing our ability to engage.
· Increase our understanding and ability to engage with Pakistani community and unpaid carers supported.
The key activities that have been delivered so far are:
· Weekly support groups in Pakistani community.
· Establishing links with other professionals who are working with carers in south Asian community.
· Identifying barriers Pakistani unpaid carers are facing in accessing support.
Just to mention the few highlights of the project so far!
· The (Listening Event) that we held for carers and professionals.
· Meeting the Mayor of Kirklees.
· Invitation to come as one of the guest speakers at Making Carers Count Event.
· Outreach meetings, marketing our project via face to face with local councillor.
Crossroads Caring for Carers (Black Country & Birmingham)
Crossroads Caring for Carers provides a wide range of community care services across Sandwell, Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and surrounding areas. We offer personalised in-home care to support with daily living needs, enabling people with complex needs to remain in their own home for longer. This can be provided alongside social care services or funded by the person themselves or their family. We also help informal, unpaid carers to care for longer by providing practical support, training, respite and palliative care, improving the health and well-being of carers and those they care for.
About the project
As part of our Making Carers Count project, we aim to break down a range of barriers and challenges faced by informal carers from under-represented groups, (ethnic minorities).
We aim to provide a service that will allow carers to feel more supported and listened to, ensuring they receive the help they desire. We provide:
- Confidential, one-to-one support
- Advice, information, and guidance over the phone or face-to-face
- Signposting to other specialist support services and/or groups provided by Crossroads and other organisations
- Help to reinstate previous/pre-COVID care arrangements or facilitate new arrangements
- Advice on how to gain a Carers Assessment from the Local Authority
- Wellbeing support
- Support and practical training provided in the home, by our in-house trainer, for carers of people with complex needs
- Access to Carers Trust Emergency Fund
- Regular Carer Support Groups & Lunch Club. Diverse languages spoken.
- Fun Days & Day Trips to give Carers Respite
A highlight of the project so far has been the Peer-to-Peer support that our carers have given each other through our Carers WhatsApp Group and during our coffee mornings & Lunch Club. This has now even resulted in some of our carers meeting up outside of the group for coffee and a cake to offer each other further support and respite.
We recently on Saturday 25th March held a carers fun day in Sandwell during which we had music, inflatables, carnival games, a caricaturist, cakes, food, refreshments, and an information table. This event was highly successful with over 200 people in attendance. The feedback we had was extremely positive; that carers were able to enjoy themselves, be able to laugh and to be able to take a break for a few hours.
Newcastle Carers is an independent charity supporting adults, children, and young people who care for someone living in Newcastle. This includes people providing unpaid care to relatives or friends who are suffering from illness, disability, mental health problems or substance misuse. We provide a range of practical and holistic support, and we believe every carer should be able to access professional support, information, and guidance. We also believe that children and young people with caring responsibilities, some of whom are of primary school age, deserve the same opportunities as their peers. We have over 6,000 carers registered with us, and a track record of working in collaboration with a range of organisations and services to identify and support carers in communities of most need.
About the project
Newcastle is a City of Sanctuary, with increasing numbers of asylum seekers and refugees from a range of countries. Dedicated resources and a development worker are enabling us to build trusted relationships with asylum seeker and refugee communities, identify barriers and co-design carer support in their communities. At Newcastle Carers we have been increasing the skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence across our whole staff team to deliver to carers from asylum seeker and refugee communities effectively. We continue to develop new partnerships with a range of statutory, voluntary and community organisations in Newcastle, increasing our reach and providing broader carer awareness. Attending forums and local community groups is enabling early identification of carers who are asylum seekers and refugees and ensuring that carers are aware of the support available to them, improving wellbeing and preventing crisis. We are taking the information shared with us about the barriers faced by asylum seeker and refugee carers and influencing policy particularly regarding accessing health care.
Newcastle Carers has been developing a comprehensive understanding of the needs of carers from asylum seeker and refugee communities in Newcastle and the difficulties they face. We have identified that accessing funding has been a priority. We overcame initial barriers to understanding the legal status of asylum seekers and refugees and their entitlement to accessing financial support. We were able to set up a process to enable Newcastle Carers to purchase items on carers behalf given that many carers did not have access to a bank account. We have been delighted to be able to provide carers with items including smart phones, televisions, mattresses, and gym memberships from our ‘Carers Wellbeing Fund’. Carers who have been able to purchase bicycles have been a particular success with reports of gaining independence and improved emotional and physical wellbeing. Carers have loved being able to connect with their new city and explore all Newcastle has to offer them.
Northamptonshire Carers provide services and support to carers and cared-for people in Northamptonshire including a Carers Support Line, Young Carers and Young Adult Carers Service, Statutory Carers Assessment, Support Groups, activities, training and peer support, specialist dementia services and Social Prescribing.
Our Project aims to deliver the following to reach and support ethnic minority carers
- Link with ethnic minority organisations and communities to raise awareness of carers and create referral pathways
- Involve ethnic minority carers in focus groups and Carers Partnership meetings
- Organise events to hear ethnic minority carers voices
- Plan and work in partnership to source funding for future services and support
- Workforce development within Northamptonshire Carers, increasing diversity by reviewing recruitment
- processes and implementing Safe Space groups
- Provide training to Northamptonshire Carers staff team and other organisations
Swindon Carers Centre
Swindon Carers Centre aims to improve the wellbeing of unpaid carers in Swindon, creating a community where carers are recognised, valued and supported. We do this by offering one-to-one person-centred support, and through services such as our Carers Support Line and Emergency Card Scheme. We also offer benefits advice and time out through our events and activities. We also work with schools and companies to raise awareness.
About the project
Through the Making Carers Count project we aim to broaden our reach to carers in ethnic minority communities – especially those in the Asian community. We have focused on the Asian community because there is a large Asian community in Swindon but they are under-represented in the carers we currently reach. We are achieving this through local level community engagement, including the recruitment of community champions to highlight how we can support people from these communities carrying out a caring role. We are also building our organisational capacity, strengthening our processes and polices as well as making use of interpretors to enable us to be more inclusive of ethnic minority groups.
We have engaged with nine community champions, which has enabled us access to certain Asian communities via invites to Asian specific events as well as promoting our services locally. This has also enabled us to join the Asian networking event for professionals and business owners locally in these communities giving us a good platform to assist with achieving our project goals.
Crossroads Together is a charity with a mission to ensure unpaid carers of all ages, and the people they care for, can access emotional and practical support needed to maintain their own health and wellbeing.
Our 270-trained professionals offer services across Cheshire and Warrington, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Shropshire and Herefordshire, supporting over 5000 carers and people with care needs every year.
CarerLinks+ is our new service providing support to unpaid adult carers from the LGBTQ+ community. This innovative project will focus on understanding the barriers that people in this under represented group face and work collectively to improve awareness, understanding and access to services.
Carer Advisors will provide 1:1 support for carers to support them with their own wellbeing and a calendar of peer support groups, activities and events will provide opportunities for carers to meet others who have a genuine understanding of their situation.
Lanarkshire Carers Centre Ltd
Lanarkshire Carers is a carer led organisation with over 25 years of experience developing and delivering information, advice and support services for carers. We are experienced at reaching under-represented communities and have a diverse Board of Governors, staff team and volunteers, many of whom are carers themselves.
Making Carers Count will enable learning, development and continual improvement of our approach to under-represented carers as a whole and inform positive changes to practice, communication and service offer. Carers tell us that tailored, flexible and responsive services are effective with targeted groups. We want to better understand and improve our work with LBGTQ+ carers to allow this approach to be adopted. By enabling and encouraging early identification, engagement and appropriate support for LGBTQ+ carers, we can prevent carers from reaching crisis point, minimising risk to health, wellbeing and impacts on quality of life.
Wandsworth Carers' Centre
Wandsworth Carers’ Centre has been operating in Southwest London since 1995 working with and for carers. We offer a wide range of services including specialist support for carers of people with mental health problems, dementia, learning disability, neurological conditions, autistic spectrum disorder, substance misuse issues and Asian carers. We also offer advice, information & advocacy, counselling, massage, back care, warm spaces, a supper club and access to respite.
About the project
Our project is for LGBTQ+ Unpaid Carers, aged 18 and above, living in any part of London. Our aim is to help tackle the barriers that LGBTQ+ Carers face when trying to access services for Carers. We run a monthly, in-person Peer Support Group for LGBTQ+ Carers. This is held in central London, on a weekend afternoon. Every month, we also organise a free trip for LGBTQ+ Carers. We have visited many museums and galleries for private, LGBTQ+ tours.
We run online events for those who are not able to access in-person events. We also provide one-to-one support and advocacy for LGBTQ+ Carers. The other aspect of our project involves training other Carers Centres and services in London who support carers, (e.g. hospices and social services) on LGBTQ+ Awareness. We developed a Toolkit on working with LGBTQ+ carers which we have shared nationally.
Our project highlight is our LGBTQ+ Carers Peer Support Group. We meet monthly with carers from different areas of London who identify as LGBTQ+. The carers in our Group have expressed that being able to speak with other LGBTQ+ carers is hugely valuable to them. They feel safe to speak openly about their lives and talk about topics for which there is a mutual understanding amongst the group. The carers who attend our group have their own WhatsApp Group. Many people have explained that our project has helped them to overcome social isolation and reconnect with their LGBTQ+ identities. Since November 2022, we have organised monthly trips for the carers who attend our Peer Support Group. We have attended private, LGBTQ+ Tours of various museums and galleries. This has given the carers who we work with a well-deserved break and an opportunity to do something enjoyable together. We end each trip with a hot drink and a chat. Carers have noticed an improvement in their wellbeing from being involved in our group activities.
Carers’ Resource exists to support unpaid carers. We provide information, advice and support to carers, to the people they care for and to professionals who work with them.
Carers’ Resource is an independent, award-winning Yorkshire charity which is open to everyone and offers emotional and practical help to enable unpaid carers to cope. We offer a wide range of services to adults, children and families who care for someone in Bradford and the Harrogate, Craven and Selby districts of North Yorkshire.
About the project
Our ‘Men Care Too’ project aims to:
- Improve and increase our engagement with male carers
- Provide better identification and support to male carers
- Encourage health and social care professionals to have increased understanding and ability to support male carers
- Deliver a range of support group activities and information resources that are available for male carers and support their needs
Our key activities currently include a male carer forum, male carer meet-ups, social events and activities including sports groups and gardening. We have also held two larger scale community engagement events focused on the services and support available for men, delivered in partnership with other community organisations.
A recent project highlight has been our partnership event, a ‘Men’s Information Market’ in Bradford to share health, social and lifestyle information, to raise carer awareness and familiarise local men with the support that is available within the city and area. The event was well attended by men from the local community and by a number of organisations that provide men’s social and health support including organisations supporting male victims of domestic abuse, men’s mental health and support for young fathers. It resulted in a number of referrals and partnerships being established between organisations and carer awareness raised among both attendees and partner organisations.
Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service
PKAVS is a dynamic local charity with a Big Heart – from carers young and old, to adults recovering from mental ill-health, minority communities, volunteers, and voluntary groups – we work tirelessly throughout Perth and Kinross to improve wellbeing, connect communities, and help people to realise their potential.
The Making Carers Count funding will be used by PKAVS carers hub to recruit a staff member whose main remit will be to raise awareness of and create a bank of appropriate support services for unpaid male carers living in Perth & Kinross. At present less than 30% of unpaid carers registered at PKAVS are male and so we have identified this as an area we need to place more focus on so more male carers are identified and offered the support they deserve.
Crossroads Care Gloucestershire
For over 30 years, Crossroads Care Gloucestershire has provided unpaid carers across the county, with support services to enable them to take a break from their caring role. We do this by providing a highly trained staff that can share the challenge of caring for loved ones with physical or mental health needs at home.
About the project
The aims of the project:
- Improve identification of working carers in the local area
- Increase understanding of working carers
- Improve ability to engage with working carers
- Improve access to support and information for working carers
- Increase stakeholder recognition of working carers and ability to engage and provide support
- Designed and collated a working carer survey to help identify this target group.
- Collated the research from the survey; undertaking 1-2-1 conversations ; and case studies to improve our understanding of what challenges and support working carers most value
- Developed marketing material, a new website and an automatic referral system to improve our ability to engage with working carers.
- Implemented a new CRM system and we now collect GDPR permissions so that we can engage with all working carers we encounter via phone or our project specific newsletter. This newsletter provides working carers with the information they tell us they most need.
- Increased our recognition of working carers internally through a range of activities including management ‘carer awareness training’.
We next plan to utilise all these lessons, marketing and training presentations by delivering this information through local employer organisations . Currently we have contacted 12 major employers across the area.
A project highlight has been improving support for our own staff carers. As an organisation we are now aware of all staff working carers and engaging with them actively to provide internal support such as flexible working. We have run ‘staff wellbeing’ session to provide additional signposting and check-ins with our working carers. Our staff tell us that they now feel more supported in their roles.
Cheshire and Warrington Carers Trust
Cheshire and Warrington Carers Trust is a charity providing information, advice and support to unpaid carers. We run monthly support groups and carer breaks, provide advocacy, benefits advice, emotional support, raise awareness of carers issues amongst professionals and in the local community and encourage early intervention in primary care services through our relationships with GP surgeries. We are able to tailor our advice and support through specific projects for parent carers, carers in employment, male carers, as we well as running training and information sessions providing support when needed most.
About the project
Our Making Carers Count Project provides specific support for Parent Carers who have a caring role for a child or young person up to age 25. We chose this group of underrepresented carers because parents of children with special educational needs or disabilities often don’t identify as being carers. They are just Mum or Dad. They often miss out on help and support because they don’t know it exists, especially if their children’s needs are not identified by school or health care professionals. Our project provides one to one support including emotional support, benefits assistance, advocacy and educational support, group and individual training opportunities, parent carer support groups, and carer engagement sessions. These engagement sessions take place regularly to help shape the project and reflect the needs of parent carers.
We started the project with a launch event in Chester. A group of parents from Winsford attended this event but complained that there was no local support for them in their town – the nearest groups we had set up was Northwich. They did not want to travel this far. They asked if they could set up their own group at a free community room they use, but if we could provide training activities, information and events. With their help we set up a monthly support group, and provided a benefits training session. They now offer their own drop in service where they give help and advice about benefits and use their own experiences to help support other parents. They also received a donation of Aldi vouchers which they passed on to all of the parent carers who attended the Winsford support group.
Blackpool Carers Centre
Blackpool Carers Centre is an independent, local charity and network partner of Carers Trust. We provide a range of services to support and enhance the lives of unpaid carers of all ages throughout Blackpool.
One of the Top Blackpool Charities, Blackpool Carers Centre provides specialist support, respite and outings for unpaid carers from the age of 5 years and their families. We help carers to create friendships, feel less isolated, strengthen their resilience and make happy memories. Our service is often a lifeline for many carers who would otherwise feel isolated and unable to cope.
Blackpool Carers Centre is the single point of access for unpaid family carers living in Blackpool. We provide emotional and practical support to carers from the age of five years old. We know that in order to improve the life of a carer, whatever their age, it is important to also work with their family too. We get alongside families to build on their positives, taking the lead from them to promote their own well-being and quality of life running alongside their caring role.
About the project
Blackpool’s unique challenges, demographics and community are deeply understood and responded to by Blackpool Carers having worked alongside some of the town’s most vulnerable and complex families for over 15 years. In tandem with the new presenting needs in response to the pandemic, there is the pre-existing picture of problematic alcohol use and prevalence of diverse drug misuse that Blackpool has grappled with for many years. It is with the stark local picture of problematic substance use in mind that we are keen to respond appropriately and with specialised support to the increasing numbers of carers providing care to loved ones experiencing issues with drugs and/or alcohol.
Through this new funding we launched our ReFocus project which aims to support carers in Blackpool who are affected by a loved one’s problematic substance use, providing them with information around substances, addiction and recovery, time and space to discuss the impact of their caring role and opportunities for respite and peer support.
Our current adult provision doesn’t attract many carers providing care to a loved one dealing with substance misuse, and yet we are aware of the prevalence of issues related to alcohol/drugs within our community. In our commitment to meet changing and increasing needs in Blackpool’s community, we are eager to mobilise a targeted approach to identifying and supporting carers in these often precarious and complex situations.
Caring roles relating to substance use are also often unseen as carers themselves are unaware that they are providing care, particularly where the emphasis of their role is more emotional in nature rather than practical. Caring roles around problematic alcohol and/or drug use can also often ‘creep up’ on people with the unmanageability of issues evolving over time.
Choices of support for carers and those experiencing problematic substance use are currently limited locally. The aim of this project is to create an understanding of problematic use, dependency, addiction, treatment options, behaviour change, harm reduction and recovery expectations, with the aim of presenting options for carers and loved ones who are cared for in taking steps to recovery that work for them. Our work also focuses on the choices that carers themselves have in creating their own identity outside of caring and in challenging and/or changing circumstances that are no longer working for them.
There have been several highlights, however, one which stands out is being asked to attend the Carers Trust Away Day Conference to share an update about our Making Carers Count project. I attended the conference along with one of the carers I am supporting who cares for her son who has battled heroin and alcohol addiction for over 30 years.