Rotherham Carers Forum

Rotherham

Your story

Rotherham Carers Forum - providing an independent voice for Rotherham's informal (unsalaried) carers.

Supporting and empowering carers to be heard and achieve better outcomes.

Group introduction

Although Rotherham Carers’ Forum has been running for well over ten years, it was officially relaunched in 2015 after becoming solely independent and constituted group in 2014.

The interim management steering group is made up of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, who are all volunteers and family/friend carers. We have regular monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of every month, which are open to all informal family and friend carers looking after people of all ages, disabilities and medical conditions living in Rotherham.

Since the relaunch, we have become a recognized strategic partner in shaping services in Rotherham. Our aim is to work as an equal partner with the local authority, health services, voluntary and community organisations, charities and groups participating in and influencing local decision making on services for carers and their families.

Work over the last year has included partnership working to co-produce the Rotherham Carers Strategy, ‘owned’ by Rotherham informal carers and not a specific statutory agency, and being a partner in redeveloping training for informal carers.

We regularly have guest speakers and visitors from some professional agencies, who have reported back that it is a good way to meet carers in a friendly but very productive setting.

Although some members are able attend regularly, we have developed a successful online virtual community for those who find it difficult to attend due to their caring responsibilities. Our Facebook page now has in excess of 180 members, most of whom are family and friend carers.

We hope to influence real change in Rotherham and monitor this to ensure it happens. Furthermore, we aim to build carer awareness and carer friendly communities across Rotherham, as well as trying to reach ‘hidden’ and hard to reach carers across the borough.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

In Rotherham there are around 31,000 unpaid carers. This figure represents 12 % of the total population, the national average is 10.3%, but we are struggling to get more carers to come forward to be part of the Forum, or even to recognise that they are carers.

Following consultation through our Facebook page, a few people suggested for the Forum to go out into the community on an outreach basis, in local community centres and community events for example. Therefore, it would be much appreciated if a grant could be used to help support this outreach activity, to maintain supply of publicity materials and aide memoires to attract the public’s attention. Also, this would help with a continuation of core stationery supplies in order to facilitate and build up a database, plus stay in touch when contact has been made.

It is important that information and advice is available in different formats and in venues that are sensitive to the diverse range of needs in Rotherham.

Our website is still under development and is still in its beta form. It would be great to be able to continue with its development, providing a means of engagement for carers who struggle to be involved in person.

Part of our remit is to help informal carers feel valued in their own right. Some outcomes of the Rotherham Carers’ Strategy include the caring role being manageable and sustainable, and carers in Rotherham having their needs understood and their well-being promoted. Although the Forum plays a formal role in being a strategic partner, we also feel it is important that carers can look to the Forum as giving them a chance to socialise, share experiences and support each other.

It would be great to have funds available to provide opportunities for more informal and social get-togethers on occasion, to make carers feel valued and at the same time promote their well-being through friendship.

To summarise, if we were fortunate to receive a Skipton Building Society Grassroots Giving Grant, this would help us to continue to grow within the community and strengthen our sustainability within the voluntary sector. It would help fund core items to maintain the running of the group whilst being able to enhance aspects of the group’s growth needs, for example the continuation of work on the website. It would also be nice to have something to give something back to the carers, who give up so much of their own time for others.

Thank you for your consideration of this application.

"Monica Hudson, Interim Secretary and Carer - "Rotherham Carers Forum is rapidly growing, gaining recognition and evolving to become a strategic partner with the local authority, health services and relevant voluntary organisations. A Skipton Buliding Society grant would help the Forum to locate hidden and hard to reach carers, which in turn may wish to become involved in helping shape, monitor and evaluate local services for Rotherham's informal carers.""

For more information visit:

www.rotherhamcarersforum.co.ukk

https://www.facebook.com/groups/447927305387710/

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