Council improves support for carers

Posted on Sunday 27th February 2011 at 9:21 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council is improving the support it provides to the district’s carers with increased investment and a range of innovative ideas.

There are an estimated 20,000 carers in South Gloucestershire and the council recognises the huge contribution they make. The council, in partnership with NHS South Gloucestershire, has developed a Joint Carers Strategy that is designed to provide the very best support to carers. This strategy has been carefully developed incorporating feedback and comments from carers themselves.

The strategy aims to empower carers by extending more choice and control to them. One way of achieving this is to give carers direct payments so that they can arrange and pay for services, such as a carers’ break, how and when it suits them, rather than the council commissioning a service it thinks carers need.

Carers are also being helped in developing their own support networks –where carers themselves have a greater say in running and influencing the groups. The council has set aside nearly £100,000 to help set up these carers groups.

One such carer-led organisation is Time for Carers, a group with a membership of more than 100 carers and rising. The group has developed into a vibrant carers’ organisation offering peer support and opportunities for members to come together offering a break from their caring responsibility. The council has provided financial and practical support to help the group develop their own capacity and deliver the kind of support with a social focus that meets their needs.

Councillor Matthew Riddle, executive member for community care and housing, said: “The council is absolutely determined to provide the very best support for South Gloucestershire’s army of dedicated carers. We value their selfless contribution to society and have listened carefully to them when drawing up our new Joint Carers Strategy. This will give carers more choice and control, keep them better informed and help them to develop their own support networks, which will hopefully reach many more carers.

“The increase in direct payments is particularly exciting because instead of the council paying for the services it thinks carers need, the direct payments initiative very much puts carers in control and means that they can pay for services that are specifically tailored to meet their needs.”

In addition to the financial help provided, the council and its partners offers a wealth of advice to carers and is producing a practical guide to assist carers who are struggling to balance their caring role with work.

To find out more about the support available to carers the council has arranged a series of drop-in sessions across South Gloucestershire throughout March. For more information about these sessions and other forthcoming events, please contact Sue Jaques on 01454 862356 or email cchengagement@southglos.gov.uk.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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