Somerset carers have a voice

Carers in Somerset have been given a voice to shape future plans for the support they will receive.

The County’s first Carers Commitment is being developed by carers, Somerset County Council, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local carers support providers.

It will include a set of priorities and plans for the support that carers can expect, and they are being urged to get involved and help plot the way forward.

Over 70 local carers and professionals attended a recent event to contribute ideas and thoughts and kick-off the beginning of the process for agreeing a Commitment to Carers in Somerset. The event was hosted by Carers Voice Somerset, an influencing body (previously known as Somerset Carers Partnership Board) that aims to improve the lives of unpaid carers in the county.

Debbie Penny, Support Officer at Carers Voice Somerset, said: “This has been an important event for the initial launch of the Commitment to Carers which is more than just a document, it is a new way of working. This is a very positive opportunity for carers to get involved and have a voice.”

Cllr William Wallace, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Services at Somerset County Council, said: “Working with carers is paramount to the future of support services. They can advise us on what they need, what they suggest we should do and how we can work together. It is important that this work continues and carers, who are a very valuable asset to our society, have a voice when we are developing services.”

Lucy is a carer from Taunton, she said: “It’s nice to have an opportunity to listen to what is being provided for carers and put some input back. I think it is vital that professionals involve carers.”

Oli is a young carer from Shepton Mallet, he said: “I am happy that an event like this is happening. There are lots of professionals here and they can listen which is really good.”

Watch a short film of the event here:

At the event carers and professional identified some key themes and priorities for the Somerset’s Commitment to Carers.

“This is the start of the process,” Cllr Wallace continued. “A plan will be developed by the County Council, the CCG and local providers to achieve the priorities that the carers have helped us identify. The plan will be open for feedback and comments in the Autumn 2015 and formal adoption of the Commitment will take place early in the new year.”

For more information on the event and how you can get involved, visit: www.carersvoicesomerset.co.uk