8th February 2018Category: Working Carers
Did you know that more than half (51%) of people believe they ‘don’t know’ a single friend or family member looking after a loved one or friend?
In reality, many people don’t know who a carer might be, and might not understand how to support them, especially in the workplace.
This week we are looking at Carers Champions, and why they are important in the workplace. If you regularly read our articles, you might already have an idea of who is a Carers Champion, but just incase here is a simple definition:
"A Carers Champion is someone who is aware of the stresses and strains a carer may be facing. They understand the important role of a carer and can pick up on the signs of someone who is caring often when the person may not know it themselves. Champions have gone through training with West Cumbria Carers so they have information about the charity and the services available as well as being able to support people to make that first step of contacting the charity when they are ready to do so".
Why are they important in the workplace?
Creating a supportive workplace is important because juggling work, caring and everything in-between can be a difficult thing to master.
3 in 5 workers (62%) believe they don’t know ‘any work colleagues’ who help look after a loved one. However 1 in 9 people in the workplace are juggling paid work with unpaid caring. If you do the math, you know that doesn’t add up.
Building awareness of what caring actually means can change people’s perceptions of carers. Raising the profile of carers means colleagues, line managers and people in supervisory positions will start to understand caring and carers.
The power of a Carers Champion is that they look like you and me. They might be a colleague in your team or soemone in the HR department. Soemone who can sit with you and have a coffee and a chat.
Where are they at the moment?
Carers Champions are appearing in different organisations across West Cumbria. There are Champions in Sellafield Ltd, Iggesund, Kaefer Ltd, Sainsburys in Cockermouth, the Credit Union in Whitehaven, Cornerstone bookshop, as well as various pharmacies. They are also in Yewdale Ward at the West Cumberland Hospital and Distington surgery and the number of champions is constantly growing across Allerdale and Copeland. Some of you may have even seen some of our Champions in the press recently.
How do you become a Carers Champions?
Before someone officially becomes a Carers Champion, there is a requirement to attend an Induction and Training Programme prior to the start of volunteering. After that, they have on-going support from our Volunteer Coordinator, one-to-one supervision, training, and group meetings with other volunteers.
On the 9th March there will be a free Carer Champions workshop run by West Cumbria Carers at Energus. If you or your organisation is interested in understanding carers and how to support them in the workplace, come along to the session and it can be the first step to having Carers Champions in your workplace.
For more information and event details please contact Angela Longrigg on 01900 821976.
(Statistics from a report by Carers UK. More information can be found at https://www.carersuk.org/)