As an independent local charity, set up to support unpaid Carers caring for friends and relatives, we listen carefully to the needs of Carers. We keep in regular contact, and Carers are encouraged to visit or call as often as they like.

We ask Carers to provide us with feedback and use this to develop the support that we offer, to meet the needs of Carers.

We also feed this information back to those who influence development and funding of Carers services.

We love to hear your views as Carers, and update you with things that may affect you as a Carer. One of the ways that we do this by holding Carers Forums. We hold 2 forums a year in Kent, normally in March and September. Here is feedback about a recent forum from a Carer.

“In October I attended the East Kent Carers’ Forum. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. Before the event started, I was sitting down having a free health check where my blood pressure was checked.In the morning there was a Question and Answer session. The panellists answered questions from the floor covering care issues ranging from Personal Care Plans, benefits advice and information on services available from the Kent Community Healthcare Trust.

At lunchtime, I was able to move through the exhibition stands where you could find out information on specific health conditions, information about local Intermediate Care Teams and information on other health organisations, picking up helpful leaflets.

After lunch we had pre-picked two workshop sessions. I chose “Caring for yourself when caring for others”. It was a gentle reminder to make time for yourself, to recharge your batteries and not feel guilty about doing it. Most importantly I found out about “Talking Therapies” – a service where you can refer yourself for cognitive behavioural therapy if you are having sleeping issues, for example. I would never have found out about this excellent service, without going to the forum. I was given a form there and then to fill in to access “Talking Therapies”. Now that’s a service.

Other sessions available included First Aid, Manual Handling, Advance Care Planning and information on Power of Attorney. The whole day was so worthwhile, I urge you to go to the next forum event if you can.”

Katy Stiles (Carer)

Working with other Kent based and national Carer support charities, we are able to provide a good platform for the voice of Carers.

So, in addition to a single voice, our Carers have a local and regional voice. Many Carers charities nationwide operate in a similar way, meaning that individual voices can impact on Government policy.

The best recent example of this is the new Care Act 2014 which came in to force in 2015. This act places a responsibility on local authorities to provide levels of support to unpaid Carers.