Carers Trust Makes Call to Action for employers to support staff with caring duties
A call to action has been made to employers in the region to become role model employers by supporting staff who have caring roles in the home.
Dr Helen Brown, CEO of Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough & Norfolk, said carer-conscious companies would reap many rewards by saving recruitment costs and staff retention, as well as increased productivity and fewer discrimination and tribunal hearings. They have appointed an Engagement Officer, Bisha Mistry, to work directly with companies and advise them on supporting carers.
Dr Brown said: “People are often forced to give up work when a crisis happens, they can see no other option. Better forward planning and support can prevent this, making it a win-win for bosses and their staff who are dedicated employees and devoted carers.”
Dr Brown was a speaker at a Carers Action Alliance event in Peterborough on Wednesday, 30 September when she made her call for action. There are 78,000 carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and most go unrecognised and receive little or no support until a crisis point is reached.
Dr Brown added: “There are three million people in the UK who combine work and caring, and two million people have given up work to care, yet only 38% of employers monitor their caring responsibilities. We want to reach out to those who are not aware about how they can support their staff with caring duties at home, and to let them know the positive difference it could make all round.”
Hedda Lilley, Peterborough City Council’s Project Manager for Carers, said: “I am very much looking forward to working with the city’s business leaders and meeting the Chamber of Commerce and Opportunity Peterborough to advise them how they can take this forward.
“The council has its own Carers Strategy, promoting the business benefits of employers to balance their paid work with their caring responsibilities, setting up a carer support group, which is of great value.”
Jacky Cozens, who works at Peterborough City Council has benefited from the group. She shares her story which may resonate with many others in similar situations.
“I am the carer for my parents who are aged 93 and 95. The last year has been very difficult. They were totally independent last summer and, although my dad had been diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s, he was still able to drive and my mum was managing everything else. They had no support apart from a cleaner.
“Then my dad fell and broke his hip and everything changed overnight. Whilst in hospital his dementia spiralled dramatically, my mum was unable to get around as she does not drive, and life got very difficult.
“I was juggling a full-time job and a family with taking my mum to the hospital, doing her shopping, liaising with health professionals and activating a Power of Attorney so that I could handle my dad’s finances. I was also supporting my mum emotionally as she felt that her world had fallen apart.
“At this time the carers group was also very helpful as I went through the process of moving my parents into an Extra care flat and then a few months later, when my mum broke her hip, I had to move my dad into residential care.
“The carers group is a place where we can let off steam, talk to people who understand what we are going through and offers help and support to others. It is great.”
For carers support contact Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough & Norfolk on 01480 499090.