Welcome to our Snapshot eBulletin, created to keep our partner organisations and supporters up to date with our latest news. We hope that by sending a quick update to your inboxes (three times a year) this will help you to feel informed and connected to the Swindon Carers Centre team.
If you’d like more information after reading this today, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]
A focus on parent carers at Carers Rights Day
Carers Rights Day is an important date nationally and for us in Swindon. It helps to ensure carers are aware of their rights, lets carers know where to get help and support, and raises awareness of the needs of carers.
We held a face-to-face event at The County Ground in Swindon on Friday 24th November which was attended by over 60 carers.
This year’s event placed special emphasis on parent carers by providing access to essential information and support services. The even was a resounding success in promoting awareness and empowering parent carers to access the support they need.
Attendees had the opportunity to listen to presentations from:
- Anna Bird, Mums on a Mission
- Hannah Freeland, Designated Social Care Officer, Children’s Services, Swindon Borough Council
- Freyr Bendleton, Manager, SIAS – SEND Information, Advice and Support Service
- Sarah Hayes, Senior Youth Engagement Worker, Children’s Families and Community Health, Swindon Borough Council
- Hillary Willard, Assistant Team Manager, Transitions Team, Swindon Borough Council
Our Q&A panel included:
- Sir Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon
- Caroline Holmes, Deputy Place Director for the Swindon Locality, Bath and North East Somerset Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB)
A parent carer perspective
“It’s quite stressful. The situation affects my mental health.”
Parent carer Rebecca, who is registered with Swindon Carers Centre, has kindly shared her experience of caring for her son, Toby, (pictured above) to help raise awareness of parent carers.
Carer Poverty Coalition
We are acutely aware that the rising cost of living remains a serious concern for unpaid carers.
Research by Carers UK in their State of Caring report found that 75% of unpaid carers receiving Carer’s Allowance are struggling with cost of living pressures.
Swindon Carers Centre is one of 100 local and national organisations that has come together in the Carer Poverty Coalition. The coalition is campaigning to:
- End poverty for unpaid carers by advocating for policy change that adequately values, recognises and supports unpaid carers
- Reform the benefits system to better support unpaid carers
- Bring in better systems to support unpaid carers to continue with paid work.
The coalition wrote to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, ahead of the Autumn Statement calling for more financial support for unpaid carers. You can read the letter here.
Reaching unpaid carers from minority ethnic backgrounds
Our Community Engagement Team officers Monica and Kiran Chumber (pictured above) are working to increase our reach to unpaid carers in Swindon’s Asian community as part of the Making Carers Count project funded by the Carers Trust charity (of which we are a network partner).
Monica and Kiran met with a research team at Carers UK, who are a strategic partner of Carers Trust within the Making Carers Count programme. Some of the findings from their work in Swindon were included in a report by Carers UK focusing on providing better reach and engagement with unpaid carers from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Young carers Superheroes film
What is it like to be a young carer?
Our Superheroes film features young carers who describe the qualities needed or feelings of being a young carer by using the letters from the word ‘Superheroes.’
Those involved were either registered as young carers with Swindon Carers Centre or young carers receiving support within their school. We work closely with schools in Swindon providing advice and guidance to Young Carer School Leads.
The film was produced by Light-up Media and you can watch it on YouTube here.
Our Snapshot image
We were among several local charities and organisations who attended Swindon and Wiltshire Pride’s event at Queens Park, Swindon, in August.
It was a brilliant day and the Swindon Carers Centre team met lots of people, including those who were unaware of our services and are now planning to register to access support in their caring role.
It was also really beneficial to network with local support agencies and charities.
Pictured are our team members Sally, Sue and Tanya with Miss Lucy Luscious Lips.
Emergency Card Scheme
Have you heard of our Emergency Card Scheme?
It’s for unpaid carers registered with Swindon Carers Centre and they develop their own comprehensive emergency plan. It gives them peace of mind knowing that should an emergency (such as an unplanned hospital admission) prevent them from carrying out their caring responsibilities, the wishes in their emergency plan will be implemented, for example alternative arrangements for the person they care for.
The scheme is run jointly by Swindon Carers Centre, Swindon Borough Council and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB).
Members of the Swindon Carers Centre team have attended events and conferences to further their knowledge, share good practice and network with counterparts from other organisations.
Our Chief Executive Officer, Susanna Jones (far right above), joined colleagues Pam Webb and Carol Willis, from Voluntary Action Swindon, in attending the Creating Collaborations conference run by the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Bayes Business School.
The event brought together health and care commissioners, voluntary, community or social enterprise organisations (VCSE) leaders, policy makers, academics, and wider stakeholders to mark the launch of findings from a three-year National Institute for Health Research funded study into the VCSE and health and care commissioning relationships. The aim of the day was to strengthen collaborative relationships through sharing insights and learning from research, policy and practice.
There was an update on the new Public Procurement Provider Selection Regime (PSR) which potentially could change the way health commissioning happens and the learning from this session has been shared with Swindon’s Health and Wellbeing Board.
Debbie Murphy-Myers, our Head of Service Delivery for Young Carers and Parent Carers, and Andrea Macdonald, Deputy Service Delivery Manager for Young Carers and Parent Carers, attended the Young Carers Futures Conference, hosted by Carers Trust.
The theme was Improving Life Opportunities for young carers and young adult carers.
Among the speakers was Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, who gave an overview of the 2024 school census, which showed 79% of schools taking part reported they had no young carers identified in their schools.
This coming year our Young Carer Team will be prioritising the further development of our schools offer, to help schools to identify young carers and provide appropriate support.
During Charity Finance Week, Bronte Hague, our Head of Resources and Jacky Barnes, our Finance Manager (pictured above), attended the Charity Finance Summit organised by Civil Society.
It was a great opportunity to network with other finance professionals from a wide range of charities, as well as attend presentations and they took away a lot of valuable information.
Claire Smith and Susanna Jones from SCC were delighted to receive Swindon Carers Centre’s re-accreditation of the Carers Trust Excellence For Carers Award last week. The award was presented during the Carers Trust annual conference in York. SCC is the first Carers Centre in the country to be re-accredited. We also hold the national Trusted Charity Level 2 Quality Mark. (Pictured above: Scott Lafferty – Carers Trust, Susanna Jones, Claire Smith, Helen Oliver – Carers Trust)
Annual Impact Report
In July we held our Annual General Meeting where we looked back at our work during the past year.
During 2022/23 we worked hard to keep up with an increase in referrals, to expand our outreach work and further partnership working.
Supporting our 50:50 Lottery Club
“I play the 50:50 Lottery to give something back to Swindon Carers Centre so it can help other unpaid carers.”
Linda (pictured), was registered with Swindon Carers Centre when she cared for her dad and says the support she received from us was crucial. Linda plays our 50:50 Lottery to support carers. As a bonus, she’s won on a few occasions!
The funding from our lottery provides a regular source of income, enabling us to support carers of all ages through activities, 1:1 support, advice and our Emergency Card Scheme.
Each month three lucky winners are picked at random and receive a cash prize. The minimum cost to play is £5 per month.
All proceeds from the people who play our lottery is split 50:50. Half goes to Swindon Carers Centre to help us to provide services for carers and the remaining half is retained as the prize fund to be won by club members.