“Building a Carer Friendly Community in Reading” was the focus of the Reading Physical Disability and Sensory Needs (PDSN) Network’s event on 10th June 2015.
This was part of Reading’s contribution to Carers Week 2015, which included a range of events across the town. It was a valuable opportunity to highlight the new rights carers have since the Care Act came into force on 1st April.
The PDSN Network is made up of service users, carers, and representatives from national charities and local user-led organisations, many of whom provide services and support to adults with physical disabilities, sensory impairments and neurological conditions.
The event was attended by around 31 individuals, many of whom are carers themselves or who were working to support carers in their role.
Speakers included a number of young carers, an unpaid mental health carer and a personal assistant directly employed by a disabled adult via Reading Borough Council’s Personal Budget scheme. Each spoke passionately about the vital role they provide and some of the positive and negative aspects of their caring responsibilities.
Helen Ferguson spoke about Timefinders, an organisation who work to provide a contingency plan for carers in case they find themselves unable to carry out their caring. Chris Lang from the Department of Work and Pensions spoke about Carers Allowance and support provided by the DWP for carers to get back into employment.
“We purposefully planned the event to be interactive and educational” said Chair of the PDSN Simone Illger. “We incorporated a quiz about carers which provided a lot of really fascinating information about carers in the UK, such as how many unpaid carers there are and the economic value of the contribution made by carers each year – which is £119 billion. That’s more than is spent on the NHS.”
“This was a great opportunity to hear about the important role that carers provide and to hear first hand about some of the problems and barriers that face them in carrying out that role”.
There were a number of information stalls, including The Kiloran Trust who provide respite breaks for carers, Berkshire Carers Service, Berkshire Phab, NRS Telecare and the Stroke Association who were kindly providing free blood pressure checks upon request.
During the afternoon there was the opportunity for attendees to share their views on current provision for carers in Reading and highlight where they feel there may be areas for improvement. Responses to the questions raised during the discussion session is attached for your information:
- What are some of the issues that carers face in their caring roles?
- How could we build a carer friendly community in Reading?
- What works well for carers in Reading?
- What could be improved upon for carers in Reading?
Feedback will be used to help develop a new Carers Commissioning Strategy for Berkshire West, which Reading Borough Council will be leading on over coming months.
For further information about the event or the PDSN, please contact:
Nina Crispin, Consultation & Engagement Officer, Reading Borough Council telephone 0118 937 2383