Supporting the city's carers

Councillor Mary Locke talks about her work as Cabinet Advisor for Carers, and what she has achieved since being appointed to the role in June 2017.

Since being nominated as Cabinet Advisor for Carers I have attended a variety of meetings to support carers.

I am passionate about supporting carers and believe that the profile of hidden and known carers and the support available should be shared at every opportunity through a variety of channels such as; social media, press, community centres, libraries, churches, mosques , synagogues etc. After all, Birmingham is a very diverse city.

Carers Support

I attend the Carers Strategy Group which was a monthly meeting but now meet less frequently. I supported Carers Week in the city and attended Forward Carers events at Botanical Gardens and at their base at Touchbase Pears, Bristol Road. These events highlighted the importance of carers needing to care for themselves as much as they do for those they care for.

Neighbourhood Network Scheme (NNS)

I also attend the Selly Oak/Hall Green Neighbourhood Network Scheme (NNS) which meets monthly with a variety of agencies including; police, housing, fire service, social care; Bournville Village Trust (BVT) and others. A recent piece of work for the NNS has been the allocation of grants to local groups to meet local service demand. For example, following NNS research, they established that a number of men over the age of 55 feel isolated. A local grant has been allocated to provide community meals on a Friday to enable people to meet together and a Film and Roll club on Mondays to break the week up for this target group.

NNS Stirchley is hoping to become a Dementia Friendly ward, with local businesses being more aware of the signs of dementia and how to support people who may be suffering with the condition. The piece of work has been supported by the Alzheimer’s Society who have run a successful awareness course.

People for Public Services Social Care Citizen Forum

This forum has been running for six months, which is a great success. Citizens come from across Birmingham to discuss specific issues which are priorities for the directorate, in order to inform and influence the work of adult social care across the city. June’s session covered the Shared Lives service while May’s focused on the day opportunities consultation.

I fully support the forum’s work and have benefited from talking to the citizens that attend first-hand and support the citizens who help plan the meetings. I am delighted that this forum has been running for six months already, going from strength to strength and I look forward to continuing my support with the forum going forward.

I have put my own personal experience into my role as a councillor in my ward (Stirchley), and to signpost people at my advice surgeries and at events I attend. I am keen to continue to raise awareness of the demand for greater carer support in Birmingham and ensure that carers continue to have a voice.

The work is challenging and I have learnt a great deal from working across agencies in the sector. I hope to continue to learn from the role and to develop services for carers now and in the future. There is much that is good from the past but there is much we can bring for today and tomorrow.

This blog was posted on 1 July 2019.

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