Gateshead Carers were delighted to welcome the Mayor of Gateshead, Cllr. Allison Thompson, along with other invited and distinguished guests, to the official launch of their eLearning website designed specifically for Working Carers and Employers in Gateshead. The event was held at HMS Calliope, Gateshead, on the evening of Tuesday 28th February 2017.
This new site, developed in collaboration with Northumbria University staff and students, is specifically designed to support employers and working carers who live or work in Gateshead and work full or part time whilst also providing unpaid care for a family member or friend. People can use the site to access a carers’ awareness e-Learning course, which aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge and understanding of the nature of the caring role, particularly within the working environment.
This project is an excellent example of how collaboration between the private and voluntary sector, local council and local businesses and further education, can come together to benefit Working Carers and Employers both locally and nationally!
In addition to a range of written materials, the site is packed with videos, templates, self-assessments forms, case studies, links to online resources, recommended reading and relevant research. Upon studying all of the topics, visitors will be able to earn a well-deserved Carer Aware Certificate.
This free resource will be of particular value to:
At the launch event, guests were invited to pledge their support helping to build a ‘Carer Friendly Community’ by adding a signed brick to our Lego Pledge House. This theme continues into the year as part of the national strategy for Carers Week 2017 (12-18 June).
The website also has an accessibility toolbar, provided by Gateshead company Recite Me, making it fully accessible to everyone it aims to support. For example, nine per cent of the carers Gateshead Carers’ supports are from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background, whilst eighteen different languages are spoken across its network of carers. Recite Me is perfect for translating the e-learning site content into over 100 languages for them, whilst also making the site fully accessible to people with a disability, learning difficulty, or impairment. It gives people a range of options which are represented by easy to understand icons in a toolbar that appears at the top of each web page. They allow people to change elements of the website such as the font size and font colour, in order to make text easier to read. Anyone who visits the site can also use the toolbar to quickly and easily have the text read aloud to them.
Katalin Bartos, Employer Support Officer at Gateshead Carers, said: “We wanted to create an easily accessible, flexible and cost effective learning site for employers and working carers to use at their own pace, time and location. We had previously spoken to carers we support about the help and support they need and access to information online was a top requirement”.
For further information about the new working carers and employers e-Learning website please contact: Katalin Bartos, Employer Support Officer, Gateshead Carers, email@example.com
Photos (l to r): Martin Robertson (Recite Me); Peter Dillon, Steve Cowen, Jamie Steane; Sharon Lesley Connelly, Lynn Parker, Chris Ogle, Martin Robertson, Deborah Bradshaw; The Mayor of Gateshead Cllr. Allison Thompson, Steve Cowen (CEO of Gateshead Carers Association).
Thank you to all of our carers, trustees, staff and supporters who joined us for our 2016 AGM, which was held on Friday 25th November to coincide with Carers’ Rights Day.
This year we were treated to a fantastic drama performance by students from Northumbria University’s Drama and Performing Arts Degree courses who staged a drama based on carers’ issues and experiences. For the past 6 weeks, the students have been researching, interviewing both carers and support workers here at GCA, attending carers’ trips and activities and really immersing themselves into the world of unpaid adult carers. This research and understanding enabled them to write a highly polished drama that highlights the issues that carers face on a daily basis through their emotive and often humorous performance.
We were thrilled to be working with the students which all stemmed from a talk delivered to them by our CEO, Steve Cowen. Most of the students had never heard of unpaid carers and did not know anything about the issue. When hit with the statistics that there are over 6.8million people in the UK providing unpaid care for a loved one (of which 22,000 unpaid carers are in Gateshead), they were shocked!
Our hope is that their performance, which has been filmed by Northumbria University, can be shared and will help to inform us all about the issues and equip us better with understanding and positive steps that we can all take to help each other.
As part of our AGM celebrations our Chair of Trustees, David Clelland, proudly presented our 2016 Volunteer Awards in recognition of our carers who give back to the community through their volunteering for GCA in addition to their caring role. This year the Volunteer of the Year 2016 Award was given to a group of 9 carers who have formed the Created by Carers group. Throughout the year they have worked so hard making a wonderful range of arts and crafts, which they have taken to various events and fairs in our community, with all proceeds being donated to GCA to further fund the groups’ activities. A further 15 carers were also duly recognised with Volunteer 2016 Awards and we are grateful to each and everyone one of them. Congratulations to all of them!
Our thanks also go to the Somosa Sisters who provided the delicious food for our AGM and for which we received so many wonderful comments.
2016 has been an even busier year for Gateshead Carers which an ever increasing demand for our services but we are delighted to have been there to provide information and support to the carers of Gateshead and look forward to another busy and successful year to come.
3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives and it is estimated that by 2037 there will be 9 million carers in the UK. Following a survey in 2010, the BBC estimated that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK. Based on Census figures there are estimated to be at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16–25. Estimates show that the care provided by friends and family members to ill, frail or disabled relatives is equivalent to £119 billion every year (Valuing Carers Leeds University / Carers UK 2011). Gateshead Carers currently supports over 3,500 carers living and or working in Gateshead, a borough that has more carers than the national average. 11.1% of the population of Gateshead have a caring role, which is significantly higher than the national average of 10.3%.
Join us for our AGM on Carers’ Rights Day on Friday 25 November. Our Chair of Trustees, David Clelland, will review 2016 and look ahead to the next 12 months. We will be joined by Drama & Applied Theatre Performing Arts Students from Northumbria University for an exciting drama performance based on carers own stories and issues. Refreshments and a buffet will be provided by the Samosa Sisters.
Our CEO, Steve Cowen, explains the background to the Northumbria University project:
“Over the last few months I have been working with Dr. Matt Hargrave, Senior Lecturer, Department of Arts at Northumbria University to develop ways in which we can work in partnership. Last month I was invited to meet third year students who were interested in producing a performance which focussed on carers. This work is to be an assessed part of the Drama & Applied Theatre and Drama & Scriptwriting degree courses. Since that time the students have identified five themes reflecting carer experiences which they have developed into a performance. They have met with carers we are supporting and gained their permission to record and use the exact words of carers in the telling of their stories. This is an innovative and exciting way of raising awareness about carers and I am extremely grateful to Northumbria University, Matt Hargrave and the students involved for thinking about carers and for all the hard work they have put into this”.