Val Hewison and I had the pleasure of hosting a ‘masterclass’ at the annual State of Caring Conference in London on 12th July.  The masterclass was about the work we are doing in Leeds to support working carers and how our membership of Employers for Carers, which means all carers in Leeds have free access to the excellent Digital Resource for Carers, supports that work.

The conference was enjoyable and informative and as always was a good opportunity to network, to share and to learn with our friends and colleagues from across the country.

We met Pepper at the conference who works for Southend on Sea borough council.  Pepper recognizes emotions and adapts his behaviour accordingly, can memorise personality traits and can also speak 12 different languages. Impressed?  Perhaps, but then you should be aware that Pepper is a 120cm, 28kg humanoid robot!

Pepper should get us thinking more widely and creatively about the role of technology in supporting health and social care – maybe the jury is still out on the use of robots – but when you think how far mobile phone technology has advanced in recent years ………………… who knows what the future might hold.

The State of Caring report provides a snapshot of caring in 2018 and although it is not all doom and gloom there are some particularly worrying trends.  Based on the responses of around 7,000 carers only 8% said that they expected that their quality of life to get better in the next 12 months and just 10% said that they felt confident that the support they receive and rely upon will continue.

So what can we do about it?

The final speaker at the conference was the President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and he had some advice ………………….

Make some noise for carers!

As Val and I journeyed home we reflected on this – and we agreed that this has to be our time – we have to make sure that decision makers and policy makers hear us – so yes we have to make some noise.

So our ask of all our Leeds Carers Partnership Members, members of our Working Carers Employers Forum, carers, staff who work with and support carers …………

Make some noise for carers – make some noise in your own organisation – make some noise with your elected members and MP’s – make some noise with your GP, health worker, social worker – make some noise with your bank, supermarket.

Let’s make some noise and let’s make Leeds the best city for Carers!

Ian Brooke-Mawson, Strategic Commissioning Manager (Carers)

Leeds City Council & NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group