Sunderland Carers Centre believes it is important for carers to have a ‘voice’ in shaping services, either for themselves as carers or for the people they care for. The impact of this involvement can be local, regional or national. Ongoing development of this work remains a priority of the organisation and as such we are looking to develop a Voice for Carers Board with membership from key organisations and Carers. If you think you would like to take part as a professional representing an organisation or as carer please contact Sunderland Carers Centre.
Following are some of the specific examples of how carers are involved in this type of work already.
Carers Management Board
The Carers’ Management Board is comprised of carers whose family members live in 16 small group homes across Sunderland. These homes used to be run by Northumberland Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust (NTW) but are currently run by Care Support Sunderland Ltd. The Carers’ Management Board is an innovative and exciting new venture which was set up after discussions between a group of carers and the Local Authority to give the carers the opportunity to act as a scrutiny committee which would have real power to bring areas of concern or indeed of good practice within the homes of their family members to the attention of the Local Authority as commissioner of the care and support being provided to their loved ones.
The Board was set up in July 2011 and is comprised of carers of the residents in the homes. Each Board member has a responsibility for overseeing the care in one particular home and acting as a link for other family members who may not be able to attend meetings or serve on the Board. Sunderland Carers Centre acts as a ‘post box’ and message passing facility to enable any family member who has a relative in one of the homes to contact the appropriate Board member.
The Board meets quarterly to receive an update from the Managing Director of Sunderland Care and Support Ltd and to monitor the welfare of the residents of the homes. The Board has the power to make suggestions and to influence the care and support offered.
It is not the purpose of the Board to discuss matters that can directly be dealt with by the managers of the homes or to deal with a crisis/urgent concern which must be dealt with through contact with social services if the home manager cannot deal with the situation. The Board exists to monitor and shape the general welfare of the residents and to ensure that the best standards are maintained.
Carers Reference Group (City Hospitals Sunderland)
The experiences and views of carers are important to City Hospitals Sunderland so they get direct input from carers about what they think of their services. A number of carers already sit on this Reference Group but we are looking to increase membership of this group. For more information of how to get involved contact the Carers Centre for more information.
Young Carers Focus Group
A focus group of young carers regularly meet to inform other organisations like schools to ensure their services consider and support the needs of children and young people who have a caring role. The group have varied interests and like to get involved in different projects and recently helped develop a new app specifically aimed at young carers.