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Carers Support supporting equality

Embracing Equality

Helping ethnically diverse carers to access information to make informed decisions about their caring role

Last week, on Wednesday 8 March 2023, we celebrated International Women’s Day. The theme for this year was ‘Embracing Equity’. Equity, unlike equality, recognises that each person has different circumstances, and therefore, adjustments must be made to help people reach equal outcomes.

For example, we know that women from ethnically diverse backgrounds with caring responsibilities have additional barriers in accessing support for their caring situation (Carers UK, 2020). This includes the challenge of finding services that reflect their cultural and/or spiritual needs, as well as the needs of their loved one. Language can also be a barrier for some, where they face difficulty in finding out about services that can help. Without having (or understanding) what the options of support are, many carers are unable to make informed decisions about their caring situation.

As part of Making Carers Count, a pan-Sussex project focusing on supporting carers from ethnically diverse backgrounds, we have been working with local community organisations to counter the imbalance of delayed or missed information some carers experience.

Sonia Mangan, CEO for the Charity said:

“We are delighted to have funding from our partners Carers Trust to support our work with ethnically diverse carers across Sussex. We work with our partners Brighton and Hove Carers Centre and Care for the Carers and are proud of what we achieve together to make the lives of unpaid carers just that little better. The challenge is huge and it is important that we work with all communities to make sure carers are ‘seen, heard and included’.”

This includes:

(Photo Caption: Community and Carer Lunch Get Together as part of International Women’s Day 2023)

Working with local charities, like Rivers LPC – a women’s-based charity in Crawley, West Sussex who support local women, of all backgrounds, to access information and support. We have identified unpaid carers who ordinarily would miss out on support, and to date, a total of 349 carers from ethnically diverse backgrounds have been supported as part of the Making Carers Count project.

One of these carers is Rose. Rose was one of the first few carers supported by our Making Carers Count project in 2021. It was lovely to have her join us as part of the Community and Carer Lunch we hosted in Crawley on March 8 to celebrate and thank those women who have helped has part of the Making Carers Count project.

Rose was referred in by Rivers LPC, who had identified that she would benefit from information and support for her caring situation. Rose, a single Parent Carer for her son with special educational needs (SEN), was not sure what support, if any, she could access. So, when Rose was referred to our service in December 2021, she was given 1:1 support from our dedicated Carer Wellbeing Workers, who listened to her concerns and answered her questions and made the necessary referrals for support.

(Photo caption: Rose, Parent Carer)

“I was referred into Carers Support by Rivers LPC. To be honest, I did not know what to expect. I did not understand the word ‘carer’ as I am just a mother to my son. I did not understand how the system of support worked or what I even needed to ask about. But I am so grateful for the support, as so much has been done for me. More than I could have expected or asked for”.

Since her registration with Carers Support, Rose has been able to access 1:1 support from our Parent Carer Worker, who has been able to reassure Rose about the processes for support for a child with SEND needs. She has been supported to access our Parent Carer Health and Wellbeing Fund, to have some much needed pamper time for self-care. Rose was also in need of a washing machine, so was supported to access a Carers Trust grant for such white goods. More recently, she was supported to access our Carer Equipment Service and provided with child proof locks for cupboards around the home.

All this support has been able to be put in place because Rose was referred into us.

Therefore, in line with this year’s theme of #EmbracingEquity, the Sussex Carers Partnership is committed to #CarerEquity. Ensuring that each carer is seen, heard, and included and that no carer, regardless of background, is left to care alone.

Making Carers Count is led by Carers Trust and delivered in partnership with its network of partners (local carer organisations) and Carers UK. It is being delivered between January 2021 and March 2024. Making Carers Count is funded by the Covid-19 Support Fund.