- Forum details – East Sussex Better Together
- Opening speech – Jennifer Twist, CEO of Care for the Carers
- Presentations, Q&A, and Table Discussions
- Future Forums
Introduction – Carer Involvement
As the Carers Centre for East Sussex Care for the Carers is committed to supporting the work of the East Sussex Carer Involvement Strategy. It is our aim, and forms part of our Strategic Framework, to provide carers across East Sussex with the opportunity to be involved with, monitor and influence the services that are important to them.
Care for the Carers Engagement Model shown below highlights how appropriate opportunities are provided for carers to ‘have their say’.
Carers Voices Groups
Care for the Carers facilitates quarterly ‘Carers Voices Groups’ in each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area. These areas are High Weald Lewes & Havens, Hastings & Rother and Eastbourne, Hailsham & Seaford. At these meetings carer members join professional representatives of local carer services to discuss the concerns and issues carers in their areas have raised.
The East Sussex Carers Forums are larger public meetings that take place six times each year (two in each Clinical Commissioning Group area). The Forums ask questions about services important to carers, gather carers’ views and opinions and report these back to decision makers and commissioning managers. The ‘themes for the forums are chosen by carers via the varying engagement streams in the model above and are agreed by the carer members of the Carers Voices Groups. For the spring 2015 forums, it was agreed that local carers needed to be more aware of the changes to the services in health and social care, as a result of the East Sussex Better Together programme.
Carers Forums are free and open to all carers living in East Sussex, offering flexibility to those carers who are unable to attend the more formal Carers Voices Groups.
The forums are therefore a great place for carers to meet and chat with other carers, exchange experiences and what can sometimes be critical information, as well as being an opportunity for carers to make their views known and hear more about important issues. Carers say that for some, it is one of the few opportunities they get to express their concerns and be listened to. For Care for the Carers, it offers the opportunity to engage with new carers and raise greater awareness of carers and the support available, across the County.
Feedback from the Forums and Carers Voices Groups is fed into and receives responses from the East Sussex County Council (ESCC) Carers Partnership Board and the related sub groups (Respite, Information, Advice & Training, Health & Wellbeing and Working Carers) where service commissioners are best placed to respond and act. This partnership working and two way communication, is especially effective when commissioning managers need to consult with carers in regards to suggested changes in services and also, when services that carers are receiving are not meeting their needs in the way they need to.