Carer Voices summer round-up

Section: People and NetworksType: News Item Date Published: 25th August 2021

Stay up-to-date with the most recent work from the ALLIANCE Carer Voices project

Summer was a busy season for the Carer Voices project; reaching milestone numbers in our outreach through digital You make a difference sessions; launching a short film to share what matters most to carers across Scotland; and promoting the values of the ‘What matters to you?’ (WMTY) (this link will take you away from our website) movement with numerous partners.

June also saw the 10 year anniversary of National Lead for Caring and Outreach, Tommy Whitelaw’s campaign work, Letters, Life and Love Stories. In June 2011 whilst caring full-time for Joan, who had Vascular Dementia, Tommy organised a campaign walk across Scotland to speak to carers. In doing so he collected hundreds of individual stories and experiences about caring for loved ones. To mark this anniversary the Carer Voices team hosted the Inaugural Joan Whitelaw lecture, held as part of the ALLIANCE annual conference, in honour of his mum, Joan.

Read below for a breakdown and links of everything we’ve been busy doing over the last few months.


Through delivery of digital learning and improvement sessions, You make a difference (Intelligent Kindness- What Matters to You – Civility Saves Lives), the Carer Voices project has partnered with numerous Scottish Government Directorates, statutory bodies such as Public Health Scotland and Police Scotland, third sector organisations, universities and NHS boards to deliver key messages that promote person centred approaches and highlight the carer voice. Through this the Carer Voices project has now reached over 16,000 individuals since the beginning of the pandemic.

Short film

We published our latest short film (this link will take you away from our website) which highlights the values of person centred approaches, active listening and fostering meaningful conversations within health and social care and beyond.

Launched on 9 June 2021 on WMTY Day, and within Carers Week (this link will take you away from our website), the film placed a spotlight on unpaid carers across Scotland.

Participants range from Shetland to South Ayrshire, and represent the diversity within carer experience. The film is introduced by Irene Oldfather, ALLIANCE Director of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement, and closed by Tommy Whitelaw, ALLIANCE National Lead for Caring and Outreach. It also features a contribution from Shaun Maher, Strategic Advisor on Person centred Care and Quality Improvement at the Scottish Government, and Chair of the WMTY Scot steering group.

ALLIANCE conference sessions

The Inaugural Joan Whitelaw lecture brought together two incredible keynote speakers. Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, gave a presentation on the progress in dementia policy in Scotland over the last 10 years, whilst Maureen Bisognano, President Emerita at IHI, spoke on WMTY in practice.  The session was chaired by Irene Oldfather.

You can watch a recording of the session here (this link will take you away from our website)

We were also very pleased to host a session on WMTY, launching our short film and welcoming two of our participants, Jim Guyan and John Whitfield, to share more of their story. There was also a panel discussion with colleagues from across sectors: Shaun Maher, Scottish Government Advisor on person centred care and Chair of the WMTY Scotland group; Parveen Khan, Race Equality Mainstreaming Officer at CEMVO and member of WMTY Scotland; Jen Rodgers, champion of WMTY within NHS GCC.

You can watch a recording of the session here (this link will take you away from our website)


Tommy had the honour of interviewing Dr Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, around key areas and themes drawn from his annual report Recovery, Restoring and Renewing.

You can watch the full interview here (this link will take you away from our website)

Tommy also spoke with Amanda McCarren from tide carers, about their newly published toolkits for families and care workers.

You can watch the full interview here (this link will take you away from our website)

Jen Stewart, Policy and Membership Development Officer and member of the Carer Voices team, spoke with Emma Brown, Services Marketing Officer for Guide Dogs Scotland, about the work they do to support children, their families and carers.

You can watch the full interview here.

Case Studies

Hear from our friends at United Lincolnshire Hospitals on embedding a ‘What matters to you?’ approach in their wards.

Staff at Pilgrim Hospital (ULH) wards A and E reflect on celebrating WMTY day for staff and patients.

Colleagues from Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust reflect on their initiative to centre individuals within the care they receive, the HARRI bus.

Colleagues from Blue Triangle Housing Association share a story of listening and acting on what mattered

Conversation Cafe

Our Conversation Cafe for carers across Scotland, continued across the summer months, with regulars joining from Shetland to Ayrshire. In August’s meeting we were pleased to be joined by Jodie Wilkinson from the Glasgow Film Theatre, who shared information about their Movie Memories project (this link will take you away from our website)

Conversation Cafe is held the last Tuesday of every month, 11-12 on Zoom. Email to sign up.

Social Security Scotland

We continued our partnership work with Social Security Scotland. Having previously engaged with 1,000 members of staff with You make a difference sessions, summarised in our joint flash report, we were pleased to have begun a new series of talks for every colleague joining the organisation until March 2022.

Social Security Scotland have since formed an Intelligent Kindness working group and continuously promote the principles of WMTY, and are nominating the work they do in partnership with Carer Voices for the Civil Service Awards.

Social Covenant Steering Group

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and Minister for Social Care Kevin Stewart have welcomed the first meeting of a Social Covenant Steering Group, set up to help guide the development of a National Care Service.

We are very pleased that initial membership of the group includes Carer Voices’ Tommy Whitelaw.

The group is expected to help establish a common set of values and beliefs – a social covenant – which will underpin the National Care Service, including treating people with dignity, prioritising the common good and ensuring there is strong oversight of the new service.

To stay up to date with Carer Voices, follow us on twitter @ALLIANCECarerVo

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