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What's it like being a Workplace Champion?

One in seven people combine work with caring for someone. We speak to John Collier from Wales, a Workplace Champion at Centrica, about his volunteering role. Workplace Champions link their colleagues with information and support. They spread the word about caring and raise awareness in their workplace. 

John CollierWhat has been your highlight?

There have been many highlights of being a Workplace Champion within the Carers Network and Centrica; however the one thing that sticks out for me is, helping carers to identify themselves as carers within the workplace. Often I speak to peers who say they just look after their mum or assist their father to hospital visits and yet, they don’t see themselves as carers. It is only when I sit down with them and explain that what they do is actually caring for that person that they become aware. This is the biggest highlight for me - raising awareness of Centrica’s Carers Policy and knowing what help I have been to so many peers.

What top tip would you give to a fellow Workplace Champion?

A top tip I would provide a fellow Workplace Champion is to highlight your profile and let people know who you are and what you do. Think of how you can sell yourself and how you can make people aware that you’re a Workplace Champion. There’s a range of channels you can use from face-to-face in meetings, the intranet or your organisation’s internal Yammer page. By increasing the profile of your role, people within the workplace can reach out to you and find out where they can get support. It’s great when this happens, as this makes a huge difference to the lives of many carers who are juggling work and home life with their caring commitments.

What other activities can Workplace Champions do during Carers Week (10-16 June)?

Raising awareness is key. A cake bake is always popular. You can order a free Carers UK’s Care for a Cuppa pack which has a range of tea party resources to support you with your event. This year, we are planning to do a cake bake sale and play a few games. I am planning to play the keys for the residents at a local care home. Sing-a-longs help to bring back memories to many older people who struggle with Dementia. Seeing their faces light up, gives me so much pleasure.

To find out more about Workplace Champions, please visit our volunteering page.

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