Coming together in Birmingham: a chance to reflect and learn
Carers Trust’s Head of Young Carers and Young Adult Carers, Vicky Morgan, reports from Birmingham on a conference that brought together organisations delivering the Making Carers Count project.
What a brilliant two day conference in Birmingham!
We were joined by representatives from 25 local carer organisations, all delivering projects as part of Making Carers Count. This is an exciting multi-partner programme identifying and supporting carers who are under-represented amongst the community groups we currently reach.
Delegates at the conference had the opportunity to reflect on Making Carers Count’s progress so far, connect with each other, build stronger relationships and to learn. All of this has helped increased our understanding of the barriers facing unpaid carers from under-represented groups.
To kick off an exciting two days we heard from three carers who shared their caring journey. They described how they have been supported by their local carer organisations and how these organisations have developed services that are able to connect up different elements of the carers’ lives.
Other benefits described by the carers included how Making Carers Count projects have been instrumental in helping them maintain ‘a sense of self’ whilst carrying on with their caring role; helping them ‘remember the different parts of who I am’; and help with addressing the challenges of being a middle generation or ‘sandwich carer’ - caring for ageing and disabled parents along with partners and/or children.
Carer organisations opened up to share their own perspectives on challenges, ideas and solutions and conversations were moving, practical and solution focused. Most important of all, discussions were framed around the power of meaningful involvement of carers in the project. This will help ensure that services are designed with inclusion at their heart.
Huge thanks to all the unpaid carers, local carers organisations, as well as our programme partners, Carers UK, for generously sharing and supporting one another over a very successful two days.