Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Supporting Carers in Reading

Yesterday evening at full Council Cllr Tom Steele (Conservative, Kentwood) tabled a written question to me asking what support is planned in Reading to support unpaid carers. Below is the response I gave:

"Carers in Reading make a hugely valuable and important contribution to caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

As an administration we are committed to placing support for carers at the heart of all our policies and at the top of our local agenda for transforming community care.

The Coalition Government’s Agreement sets out that the Government will look to provide increased support to carers particularly through:

  • Extending the roll-out of personal budgets to give people and their carers more control and purchasing power;
  • Using Direct Payments to carers and better community based provision to improve access to respite care;
  •  Extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, consulting with business on how best to do so; and
  • Establishing a commission for long-term care which will consider how to ensure responsible and sustainable funding for long-term care.
Locally, The Carers Action Plan 2010-12 details how RBC, along with other partners will support carers in Reading.

The top priority areas for 2010 and beyond were identified by carers as:

  • Supporting carers to get breaks
  • Promoting the take-up of Direct Payments from the Carers 
  •  Offering back up support for carers in an emergency
  • RBC currently funds Crossroads to provide the Back Me Up emergency support planning and emergency respite scheme
  • Helping new and existing carers access information and guidance on support and services.
Developing a Reading Carers Communications Plan to reach more carers and ensure carers amongst whom service take up is currently low are targeted for more work.

This will form part of the tender for carers re-commissioning services and will make available out of hours support:

  • Supporting carers to look after their health
  • On-going work with partners to encourage carers to draw up emergency back up plans
  • Offering training to carers and to ensure carers can access appropriate peer support
  • Promoting awareness of carers as expert partners in care, through ensuring social care professionals and other teams (i.e. GPS) are aware of the carers information pack and trained in improving carer recognition
Work in progress includes:
  • Continuing the Carers Steering Group to ensure local agencies continue to collaborate for the benefit of carers
  • Making a positive contribution by ensuring carers are including in service development
  • Improved quality of life through raising awareness of services available and to engage with other providers to negotiate better access to services for carers
  •  Encouraging take up from underrepresented groups, RBC has funded an additional BME carer support group to complement existing ones offered by PRT
  •  Working with JobCentre Plus to make sure employers in Reading are aware of flexible working rights for carers
  • Community development work alongside the Thriving Neighbourhoods Programme to ensure carers are identified
  • A series of events in 2011 to link in with national events and promote carer rights, support available to them and how to access this."

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