Calling all carers

27 July 2020

Groups that support carers in west Cheshire are coming together to ask, ‘What’s it like to be an unpaid carer in 2020?’
 
This year, because of Coronavirus, people across the area are continuing to face new challenges and carers are under more pressure than ever.
 
If you are a carer living in the borough the Council and Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group wants to hear from you as part of a consultation to inform the next strategy for carers in west Cheshire.
 
Councillor Val Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “By working with carers we have identified what we think is important in this strategy, but we want to know if we’re getting it right.  Are these the same issues that matter to you? If you’re a carer, parent or are involved in providing services or support in this sector, we want to hear from you.
 
“We want carers of all ages in Cheshire West and Chester to feel valued, empowered and have access to the right support at the right time. The only way we can really achieve this is to have carers closely involved in writing the carers strategy before it is finalised and goes on to inform future services.” 
 
Clare Watson, Accountable Officer of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The role of carers in supporting not only their loved ones, but the Cheshire NHS, should not be understated. Without the, often unseen, support of Cheshire’s carers, it would be extremely difficult to provide the level of care and support required to enable vulnerable people to continue living in their own homes and communities.
 
“This includes many young carers who either support a family member who is ill or help by looking after other members of the family while they can’t."
 
The draft strategy identifies five key priorities to help support all age carers in Cheshire West and Chester. 
 
  1. The early identification of carers.  This is important to make sure that all carers are aware of the current support available to them at the earliest opportunity. 
  2. Supporting carers to achieve their personal potential.  This relates to ensuring that carers in education, training and employment are not disadvantaged or prevented from having individual aspirations or goals due to their caring role. 
  3. Making sure carers get the right support at the right time to avoid them reaching crisis point.  Ensuring it is easy for them to make the most of appropriate support networks and enable carers to continue in their caring role. This includes making sure the short break respite services on offer meets the needs of all carers
  4. Improving the health and wellbeing of carers through better access to support groups, financial advice, health checks, exercise and social contact and befriending services. We would like to see more carers registered with their GP so that a person need only  tell their story once and we can build up a profile of our carer population that really reflects local need. 
  5. Creating services and systems that work for carers throughout social care and health. 
Because of COVID-19 traditional methods of consultation will not be possible. The Council and CCG will be writing to carers, running focus groups on the phone and online. You can request a paper copy of the consultation via email from: CarersStrategyConsultation@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or by telephone on: 0300 123 8123.  The consultation will run until 18 October 2020. 

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