As well as directly supporting unpaid Carers we also offer information and guidance to Health & Social Care Professionals and Employers on how to provide the best quality support to the carers that they work with or employ. We work closely with GP practices and other Health & Social Care professionals to help identify carers and have in place a simple and confidential referral system.  Alongside schools and colleges, we work to help identify ‘hidden carers’ and student carers by promoting our services and by encouraging involvement through our volunteering opportunities. Our holistic approach aims to provide both professionals and carers with access to an extensive network of knowledge and services that will best meet their needs and to support those services in helping carers have a voice through lived experiences.

We are currently working with the team at QEH, Marie Curie, the RVI and the Patient and Carer Involvement Service at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust; assisting teams in Mental Health, Recovery and Adult Eating Disorders through their Lived Experience Advisory Groups and Involvement Banks.

We keep in regular contact with the Transitions Team / Learning Disability Service at Gateshead Council, who work with young people moving from children's services to adult services and help families navigate the change and receive regular referrals from the team.

We have attended the Gateshead Recovery's staff meeting on Teams and provided their staff beforehand with our leaflets as well as asking them to look at our website for more current up to date information about our services for unpaid carers. Gateshead Recovery refers carers/family members to Gateshead Carers so that we can offer them support and gain an understanding of their loved one's substance misuse issues.

Our networking (currently still online) has allowed us to develop various partnership opportunities by attending and speaking at events, forums and webinars including Connected Voice, the Best of Bensham Collaborative, Your Voice Counts, Refugee Forums, the Carers Partnership and Carers Trust to name but a few. 

Dedicated members of our team have responsibility for keeping in touch with each of the Primary Care Networks and community link workers through Edbert’s House and we are working hard to develop these links further and are always keen to attend any team meeting invitations!

As part of our wellbeing programme we work with various arts and culture organisations including Dingy Butterflies CIC and the Shipley Art Gallery, providing arts and crafts packs for our weekly Creative Minds sessions.

On Plot 42 Community Allotment, we work together with the Best of Bensham and Oxford Terrace & Rawling Rd Medical Group, providing a safe environmental space as part of the community social prescribing and wellbeing for carers. We hope to be welcoming carers back onto the allotment this Autumn.  

Prior to the pandemic, our Volunteer Coordinator, established a Volunteer Partnership Network, whose membership is made up of local organisations who are working with volunteers.  This network continues to meet regularly online to share information and resources to promote good practice in volunteer management and support.   We are also in regular contact with the Newcastle volunteer network and volunteer centre and Gateshead Councils volunteer team.

Following attendance at cultural competency training, our volunteer coordinator now attends a Cultural competency group, which came together follow the training to continue discussions around good practice and collaborative working to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of our organisations and services for BAME groups.

We are always looking for new opportunities with both individuals and organisations to work with to further reach ‘hidden’ carers and to thereby enhance the lives of unpaid carers in Gateshead.  If you’ve got an idea or are not sure if or how we could work together please get in touch [email protected]  We’d love to hear from you!