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Carers help shape new local strategy

Local carers have played a major role in shaping a new Carers’ Strategy for Reading, which aims to raise awareness of the issues carers face, improve identification and support and promote health and wellbeing. 

Over the past year, carers of all ages have shared their experiences, wants and needs with Reading Borough Council, healthcare providers and voluntary sector organisations to develop the strategy. 

As a result, the following five priorities have been identified: 

  • Identifying carers and promoting carers’ rights
  • Supporting and recognising carers in Reading 
  • Maximising the voice of carers 
  • Ensuring culturally competent support is available, including breaks and crisis support 
  • Supporting carers with employment and learning. 

To ensure these five priorities will be met by 2027, an Action Plan as been created which captures a range of measurable actions for organisations across Reading and Berkshire West. 

The strategy was endorsed by the Council’s Adult Social Care and Education Committee and Reading Borough Council will recruit a full time, permanent Carers Lead post to drive this work forward alongside members of the Carers’ Steering Group. 

One carer, whose contributions helped shape the newstrategy, said:Will astrategyhelp me…? Unless there is a joined-up, co-producedstrategyand action plan organisations, or the people working in them, will never understand the needs of a carer. 

“If you really want to understand, see, and hearcarers– get together and let thisstrategyjust be the start of building Reading into a great place forcarersto live, and thrive. All the people we care for will benefit too.” 

Melissa Wise, Executive Direction for the Directorate of Communities and Adult Social Care, said: “Reading’s carers are truly amazing people whose lives are fundamentally affected on every level because they are helping someone keep safe and well in their own homes. 

“This strategy is the first time there has been a single approach across Reading, created by the people it affects the most –  carers. 

“Carers have been extremely generous with their time, telling us about their experiences and working with the right partners to try and get the system to work for them now and others in the future. We thank them for the valuable time they have given us to help shape Reading’s new strategy.” 

The Carers Partnership, which represents Reading Mencap, Age UK Reading, Age UK Berkshire and CommuniCare, said: “Carers themselves have been at the heart of this strategy which means it is about them and for them. 

“We want carers to feel reassured there is one approach in Reading ensuring that support and help is joined up across health, social care and the voluntary sector.” 

“It is really important that informal carers come forward, are recognised and supported – this strategy seeks to make this happen.” 

The strategy has also been devised with Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust, Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, Healthwatch Reading, Compass Recovery College, Brighter Futures for Children, Berkshire West, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Integrated Care Board, Younger People with Dementia

Read Reading’s Joint All Age Carers’ Strategy 2024 – 2027