Let’s have a chat
Penny is a Specialist Support Team Leader
Last year we received a call from Vicky Baker at the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT) asking for input from, and involvement with, family and friend carers of people with a learning disability. She was keen to understand carer’s experiences, issues and what carers feel supports them.
This is the kind of phone call we like. We’re constantly asking organisations around the county to be more ‘carer aware’ and for the SPFT to call us was brilliant. Not only that, but she also told us she there was small pot of funding available and she would like to develop something for carers. Hurrah! We explored with Vicky the challenges carers tell us that they face, and what carers tell us they find most useful when it came to looking after their own wellbeing.
Vicky had in her team learning disability health professionals who were really interested in supporting carers and families as part of their ongoing work. We had examples of feedbacks form carers from events that had supported their wellbeing and carers who were interested in steering the project. We had the people, we had some funding and we had the will….and that’s how CHAT was formed. A programme of events for carers, to learn something that may help them in their caring role but also put the focus on their own wellbeing, something that is very often neglected.
“…we want to have a really good conversation”
People with a learning disability are more likely to have physical and mental health difficulties over the course of their life. Carers know the person they care for very well, but people’s needs change. In adulthood it can be difficult to find the right information, treatment or support. People with a learning disability and their carers can face barriers of assumptions and prejudice when trying to find solutions.
So what now? Well, we want to have a really good CHAT with carers. Let me say that again. We want to have a really good conversation with carers.
We want CHAT to be about carers and health professionals coming together. To find out what types of health information for people with a learning disability will help carers. To talk about what carers feel supports them in their caring role, whether it’s information, support or steps to looking after their own wellbeing. We want to break down some of these unspoken barriers between carers and health professionals in a relaxed environment. We know how frustrating things like referral processes can be and how tough it can be to find time to sit down with health professionals and just have a conversation…..this is that chance! An opportunity for people to talk, to hear and really listen to one another.
We have a launch day on the 23rd of January and want to know what kind of topics that you, as a carer of an adult with a Learning Disability, would find interesting to help you in your caring role. What kind of wellbeing activities would you like to try. What do you do that helps your wellbeing and increases your ability to ‘bounce back’ that could also help others?
Carers Support West Sussex and SPFT really want this to be a programme of events, for carers, led by carers. Let’s have a conversation. Let’s have a CHAT.
If you’re unable to join us at the event this month, you can still have your say. Just fill in our survey.
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