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Glowing praise for our Carer Ambassadors

28 August 2014

A recent evaluation of three of our volunteer Carer Ambassadors highlighted the fantastic work our volunteers are doing to encourage local organisations to improve support for carers.

We have a team of 30 Carer Ambassadors who use their own experiences of caring to collaborate with local health and social care organisations to improve the identification and support of carers by GP practices.

We recently invited CIRCLE (the Centre for International Research into Care, Labour and Equalities at the University of Leeds), to look at the activities that our GP Carer Ambassadors are undertaking in two areas of the UK and report back on what they have achieved. They evaluated the activities of Pat Vinycomb in Dorset and of Daphne Sanderson and Lucia Dedear in Gloucestershire.

Pat Vinycomb male carersReaching 'forgotten' carers

Pat’s setting up and overseeing of the ‘Think Carer’ project at a GP practice in Dorset was highlighted as a key achievement. As part of the scheme newly identified carers are given an information pack to signpost them to support, and staff are encouraged to identify carers as part of their work. The evaluation pointed to a 50% increase in the number of people listed as registered carers in the region.

They also commented on Pat’s commitment to reaching out to ‘forgotten’ carers in the region. Pat recognised that male carers were particularly under-represented in many carers groups in the region, so formed a group for male carers meeting in a local pub (pictured). Many of the attendees had previously had few opportunities to socialise. It was reported that for one attendee, it was the first chance he had to enjoy a pint and talk about his situation in five years.

Making carers voice heard

Over in Gloucestershire, Daphne and Lucia (pictured, during Carers Week 2013) were praised by a local carers project coordinator, who stated:

"I really admire their passion, their tenacity, their willingness to overcome difficult personal circumstances to do it."

Daphne Sanderson and Lucia Dedear during Carers Week 2013In particular, the report pointed to the vital role that the duo play in ensuring carers’ voices are heard across the region. Daphne and Lucia act as a vital link with carers, feeding back carers’ thoughts at a strategic level and with influential stakeholders in an effort to bring about lasting change for carers.

Their reports highlight not only the huge efforts, commitment and passion of Pat, Daphne and Lucia, but the impact that our team of GP Carer Ambassadors as a whole have across the UK.

We are inviting CIRCLE to evaluate the activities our GP Carer Ambassadors do in a further four areas. Their findings will be fed back to the Department of Health, who fund the GP Carer Ambassador programme as part of their ‘Supporting Carers in General Practice’ programme.

Find out more about what our volunteers have acheived »

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