To highlight Carers Rights Day on Thursday 21 November, ALLIANCE staff members share their experience of attending the Carers Parliament.
The 7th Carers Parliament was held on 30 October at the Central Halls in Edinburgh. This year’s Carers Parliament had a theme on the Diversity of Caring which aimed to recognise and celebrate the diverse nature of caring in Scotland. The event was an opportunity to explore what this means in practice and for carers from across the country to have their voices heard.
The ALLIANCE were delighted to be offered a workshop and stand at the conference to showcase the organisation’s various workstreams. Our Senior Development Officer Kerry Ritchie and Project Lead Tommy Whitelaw delivered a workshop based on the principles of listening to the heart of what really matters to carers and their families. It also shared our wider work and highlighted opportunities to get involved and influence.
We had meaningful conversations with all who we met on the day and who attended the workshops. During this process we asked three key questions set out below;
What currently supports you to live well in your community?
- Family and friends
- Carers networking – training and planning
- Community groups
- Good community spirit
- Great neighbors
- Myself and family currently have no support
What is the one thing that you would like to change that might make a difference?
- More people that would care about one another
- Have someone else to help
- More things in my community that supports me to live well
- Fairness – let what is in practice be as good as is promised in policy and legislation
- Support for mental health
- Having a better start at school and college
- Better mental health service
- That the reality is the same as the published information
- At the moment there is no support from educational authorities. No support to stay in school and/or college. No understanding of my circumstances.
- More flexible centred approach to carers and cared for people
- That ‘experts’ listen to me when I am talking about my dad.
- People should show that they care and say they care
- Carers to have more say and listened to as a professional
How should the third sector work with you to support, share and/or represent your views locally and nationally?
- Help make the schools better and the people getting treated better
- National organisations need to join up with local organisations
- Advocacy work if need be
- Follow up on things
- Have a conversation and turn it into action
- Being more proactive in listening and acting to help and support carers
- Don’t consult – involve, change and respond! Carers want direct impact on lives
- Give me what I need, not you they think I need
- Work with us to share our views locally and nationally
What matters to you?
- Network of carers including training, planning and research
- Third sector organisations
- Having representation locally
- Legislation that ensures changing places bathrooms can be installed in more venues and communities
- Fairness – we are all someone’s bairn and nobody should suffer because of someone else’s greed
There are clear messages throughout the responses carers that need to be valued and recognised as equal partners in care and that policy is not turned into practice. One of the core values of the ALLIANCE is and always will be that we listen to and engage with our members to shape health and social care policy into practice. We engage with members regularly through our network events and our multiple ALLIANCE workstreams including a platform for people to share their views through opinion pieces, our ALLIANCE Live, Carer Voices and Humans of Scotland initiatives.
“We were moved and inspired by the testimonies we heard from carers throughout the day and during the debates. Thank you to all who attended and shared their story”