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Carer Consultation – Coming to your area soon

June 2, 2014

One of the best things about being Cabinet Member for adult services is getting out to talk to people about their hopes for health and social care. These are extremely challenging times – for families, the council and government – but I’m always heartened by the commitment of so many people to work co-operatively to find a Newcastle response.

The commitment of unpaid carers strikes me as sometimes all too often society takes for granted, but carers are pivotal to how people not only engage with social care, but also get about to enjoy what this great city has to offer.

That is why I’m really pleased to support the launch of a two month consultation to hear what carers have to say … about what works, what doesn’t at the moment and how we can work to support each other to meet the needs of some of the most socially isolated people in the city. Events will also be a chance to relax over a cup of tea to share stories, helping strengthen community and family networks as well as understanding what advice and information is already available.

Consultation events will be held across the city at different times of the day, including evenings and weekends. They genuinely are an opportunity for carers to share their views. There will be no set agenda, no formal process and people can just drop-in as suits them best. Events demonstrate a continued dialogue by the City Council, building on our regular Carer Surveys and our active commissioning of various support agencies and befriending groups.

I would strongly encourage as many carers as possible to participate and can personally assure you your views will be heard. As evidence carers’ voices do make a difference, I would pay tribute to the passion of carers discussing the future of Castle Dene Respite Care Unit. Their hard work has helped us construct a future. I look forward to the Friends of Castle Dene group as our ‘critical friend’ over the months and years ahead.

However, there is still much to be done. The 2011 census suggests almost one in ten people locally provide some kind of unpaid care. And, being a carer comes at a physical and psychological cost. I recognise this. Up to 40% of carers experience psychological distress or depression plus increased rates of physical health problems.

Although the City Council does – and is proud – to support unpaid carers in a number of ways, my Cabinet colleagues and I are really keen to understand how this offer is being received and to work on areas of development co-operatively with carers. So, why not come along to one of the events.

To find your nearest consultation event contact Fiona Richardson, Carers Lead Officer, on 01912777452 or fiona.s.richardson@newcastle.gov.uk.

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