We are very excited at Gateshead Carers Association, because recently we teamed up with an international organisation called Signal, a part of Transmit who support Community Interest Companies. Signal aims to eliminate poverty within households in the UK, work with business partners who share similar values and to enable households to influence policy and co-design local services.

We are currently in the first phase of a 12 month pilot project where we are working with a small number of carers. However we hope to use Signal with more carers over the coming year.

Signal has created a questionnaire to enable households to assess where they need most support. There are 54 different indicators all under the six themes of; Income & Employment, Education & Culture, Health & Environment, Housing & Infrastructure, Organisation & Participation and Interiority & Motivation. Each indicator has three options as a response; red if an area is not going well at all, yellow if an area could be improved and green if this area is not a problem in the carer’s household.

Once a carer finishes the questions with a Carer Wellbeing Facilitator a visual ‘life map’ of green, yellow and red dots is then created by the Signal software. Carers get given this ‘lifemap’ which is a clear representation of successes in green and areas for improvement in yellow and red.

Carers then decide which specific areas they would like to improve and create personalised strategies to change these areas of their lives. We then work with carers on the areas and redo the Signal questionnaire three months later to see if there has been any change. The carer can then re-evaluate their areas for improvement.

Signal is great because of its simplicity and the evaluation and solutions are carer led, so the carer is at the centre of the process. It is also solution focused which links in perfectly with our own strategy.