September sees a new initiative for carers being launched in the Washington area. If successful it is hoped the project will then be rolled out across the whole Wearside area reaching many of the 32,000 carers across the city.
A credit card sized card giving vital contact information for carers will be made available across community venues like GP practices, pharmacies, schools and libraries. The card gives contact details of where carers can go for help and advice and also a number for emergencies to be used during out of normal working hours.
Sarann Valentine, Development Worker at Sunderland Carers’ Centre said “The card gives us a wonderful opportunity to make contact with carers in the Washington area who currently receive no support or information from social care or voluntary services. A group of carers I currently support came up with the idea for the card. They were once in a similar position themselves, not realising that they could get help and support for looking after someone in their family who is elderly and frail, someone with a long term condition or a disability. I am delighted local councilors picked up on the carers' idea for the card and arranged funding for the project through Sunderland City Council’s Community Chest Fund”.
Sarann added “For the card to be a success though it is vital we get the support from social care and health workers and community venues to display the card and alert carers to it. I am delighted to launch the card here at Rickleton Medical Centre as we see GP practices as one of the main community venues that carers visit regularly. Even if carers don’t use the contact information straight away the cards can be easily stored in wallets and purses and the contact information used at a later date”
Jackie Russell, Practice Manager at Rickleton Medical Centre said “I am so happy to launch the carers’ card here at our centre. We think it is a great way for carers to pick up vital contacts quickly and is easy for our staff to give out. We see the card as the first step to really helping carers we come into contact with. I know Sarann has developed some innovative ways of supporting carers through other GP practices in Washington and we want to support our carers in the same way.”
Photograph used with kind permission of the Sunderland Echo.
Pictured: Sarann Valentine, of Sunderland Carers' Centre, at the launch of the new carer information cards with (from left) Dr Ashley Liston, Dr Olagoke Aiyegbayo, practice nurse Beth Mercer, NHS business manager Jane Pace, Dee Grant, care manager health, housing and adult services, and practice manager Jackie Russell.
Are you a community venue?
If you are a community venue in Washington and would like to display the card please contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 567 3232 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a carer living on Wearside?
If you want more information about help and support available to you as a carer please contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 567 3232 or e-mail email@example.com
Sarann Valentine currently holds regular ‘carer clinics’ in the Encompass GP practice in the Galleries and at Barmston Medical Centre. If you attend any of these practices and want to make an appointment to meet Sarann please contact her on the number below. If you work at a GP practice and want to know more about supporting carers contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 567 3232.