What we achieved

Herefordshire Carers Support’s Legacy

Since we began as a charity in 1995, we have supported unpaid family Carers of all age groups throughout Herefordshire: adults caring for other adults, parents caring for children with a disability or life threatening illness, Young Carers and Young Adult Carers. The number of Carers we have registered for support has risen from small beginnings to our total of about 6000 in touch with us in this current year. We would like to share with you the highlights of our work with and for Carers over the past 24 years.

From the outset, we have provided information to Carers to enable them to understand where and how they can get help . Information  has been provided in many forms. We have given written material, offered telephone support, had face-to-face discussions with Carers and given practical assistance in following up issues. We have produced regular news magazines, developed our website and more recently made effective use of social media. We have organised events and conferences,  social activities and training courses. We have managed forums for Adult Carers, Parent Carers and Young Carers. We have always been committed to the principle of Carers self–support. We have facilitated local support groups, which meet in various locations across the county – and still continue. We have established the REJUVENATE Carers group, which generates sales from its craft activities. And we have nurtured a successful Parent Carers VOICE group for those whose children have disabilities or complex health needs.

Another central theme has been our recognition of the needs of our 300+  Young Carers. We have responded to these by setting up Young Carer’s Clubs in three locations. These have provided – and continue to provide – a vital outlet for Young Carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities and have fun. In addition the clubs have  offered out of school term activity trips, holidays and other events. We have helped Young Carers make the transition to adulthood through our Young Adult Carers forums and by providing one to one support to help them identify and resolve difficult issues.

We have successfully collaborated with very many health and social care organisations and professionals over the years to the benefit of Carers. The list is too long to deal with comprehensively but some initiatives deserve special mention.

  • We were instrumental in developing and establishing the Carers Charter. This was written by HCS Carers and with Service Providers to inform good practice for Carers in the workplace. Signatories include Wye Valley NHS Trust, Herefordshire Council, 2gether NHS Foundation, Herefordshire Housing Ltd and Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
  • Our work in partnership with 2gether Trust in the Triangle of Care Locality Group in Herefordshire continues to raise awareness of Carer-specific needs amongst mental health teams.
  • We have worked closely with GP Surgeries over many years. We encouraged and facilitated the establishment of Carers Leads in practices across the county, a particularly effective initiative that has improved the identification of Carers. This has helped practices develop support for Carers and to respond appropriately to their particular medical needs. A similar project with schools and 6th Form Colleges has helped them to recognise and address the special challenges Young Carers face. We developed annual award schemes for GP practices and schools, which were designed to recognise and reward good practice. These helped us cement good relationships with them, whilst also celebrating the achievements of individuals.
  • We have always been involved with Herefordshire’s Health and Social Care community. For example we have collaborated closely with the setting up of Healthwatch Herefordshire and have contributed to its activities. We have been committed to improving the representation of service users within the County’s provider organisations, and recently with the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership between Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Further more detailed information is available in the Impact Reports which HCS produced for several years to provide evidence for our funding bodies of the effectiveness of our activities.

Our wish was to continue to provide support to Herefordshire’s Carers and to develop our services further. Sadly this is not possible for reasons that are beyond our control. We acknowledge our enormous debt to our dedicated and skilled staff members, who have given such unstinting and professional service over the years. We are also grateful to our team of Trustees, who have given freely of their time and expertise. But our greatest debt of gratitude is to the many carers who have worked closely with us over the years and given us their trust and support.