Author Archives: Jack de Aguilar

How did we do?

Give us your feedback on our Carers Hub Service by filling out our new digital feedback form here. We value your voice and your experience and will strive to improve the Carers Hub Service based on feedback from carers and those who are cared for.

Read our Annual Report 2022/23

We are delighted to publish our annual report for the year: 2022/23. It’s been another challenging year but we’re incredibly proud of all the staff and volunteers here at Carers Federation who have once again adapted to put our service users first.

You can download the report here.

Carers Federation Ltd gains new Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM)

June 2023

Carers Federation Ltd has been awarded the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM) from the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi). The QPM is the UK’s only independent quality performance mark for organisations offering independent advocacy; an essential service for people who need support to express their needs and have increased choice and control in their lives.

To gain the QPM, independent advocacy providers have to undergo a rigorous self-assessment process and policy review. This is followed by a structured site visit for NDTi assessors to meet advocates and the people they support. As well it being good practice for Local Authorities to provide advocacy to people at risk of exclusion, commissioners are required to provide statutory independent advocacy under the Mental Capacity Act, Mental Health Act, and more recently the Care Act. The Advocacy QPM provides them with a robust benchmark to measure independent advocacy services, ensuring they select the very best providers.

Philip Kerr Operations Manager responsible for Advocacy Services from Carers Federation Ltd said: “We are delighted to have once again been awarded the Quality Performance Mark for our advocacy service. This is a credit to all the staff involved who dedicate themselves to the delivery of vital support to people who use our service and demonstrates their professional abilities. The award also independently confirms standards to our wider Stakeholders and Commissioners.”

Gail Petty, QPM Manager and Lead for Advocacy and Rights at NDTi said: “The Advocacy Quality Performance Mark is only awarded to advocacy organisations who can demonstrate that they are providing excellent services to people often experiencing challenging situations in their lives. It indicates that they have the training and policies in place to ensure people’s rights are upheld and their preferences are heard and responded to.”

Originally developed by Action for Advocacy (A4A), the Department of Health funded NDTi to review and revise the QPM in 2014, working with providers, users and commissioners of advocacy services. The application process was streamlined to be as straightforward as possible, while retaining the rigour required to ensure that high standards are met. It is available to organisations providing independent advocacy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Further information can be accessed and applications can be made via www.qualityadvocacy.org.uk.

Action For Young Carers Launches GP and Education Packs for Young Carer Support

Action for Young Carers (AYC), the young carers support service delivered by Carers Federation, is working to enable healthcare professionals to better support Young Carers within medical practices.

Specialist training for medical staff will increase young carers awareness and support following a £5000 community grant. This grant has facilitated this innovative partnership work and provided the backdrop for a new young carers GP and education pack, due to be launched during Carers Week in June.

For more information and to download, click here.

Carers Federation offers support for young carers via AYC in Nottingham City. AYC is a confidential service supporting young carers between the ages of 5-18. The service creates an open and accessible approach for young carers to access the help they need, building confidence, skills, and opportunities through a range of free-to-access activities, a dedicated support worker and ongoing advice and support. The Assura Community Fund, which kindly provided the £5000 community grant, support health and wellbeing improvement projects in the community, based around their primary care centres.

Delivery of this specialist training was affected by Covid-19, which resulted in a newly adapted, digitally accessible version with input from all partners involved. This new training product sits alongside a newly developed GP information booklet for young carers and an updated education pack to support GPs in being able to identify, sign post and support them. AYC is now able to deliver this training both in person and digitally, as well as the information packs which give clear referral pathways of how young carers access support services.

With 30 young carer referrals to the Carers Federation in less than a year, the awareness training and access to updated resources is already proving successful.Rosaleen Lynch, service manager for Carers Federation said:

“This grant will help our healthcare professionals which will lead to better physical and mental health and education needs for our young carers. We plan to continue to work with multiple agencies on projects like this to help benefit the communities around us.”

Carers Week 2022 marks the perfect time to launch this new initiative, with the theme of making “caring visible, valued and supported” at the heart of Carers Federation and AYC’s work. Carers Federation will continue this work with the launch of the GP and education packs for young carers in June and training throughout the summer, working collaboratively to look at new ways of working with Medical Practices. This includes an Autumn launch by Carers Federation of the Quality Standard in Carer Support for Medical Practices, an accreditation developed to recognise and further best practice in supporting patients with caring responsibilities.

For more information and to download, click here

Counselling service to close in 2022.

It is with great sadness that Carers Federation intends to close its counselling service in the late spring / early summer of 2022. The service has been available free to carers since 1997 and provided practice opportunities to volunteers with counselling qualifications.

Since 2016 when local authority and CCG funding ended the service has been funded by Carers Federation Board of Trustees through its reserves. During those five years we have sought but been unsuccessful in securing alternative funding and the Board feel continued subsidy of the service is unsustainable.

We are all acutely aware that due to the pandemic, the need to support carers has never been more acute and we have witnessed an increase in referral numbers. This has therefore been a very difficult decision to make and we will honour our commitments to carers in counselling and to our volunteer counsellors.

We are ceasing to accept new referrals from this date and have notified the small number of carers on our waiting list

COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit

NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have put together a vaccination toolkit so you can get all the information on the vaccine in one place.

To visit the toolkit, please click here.

Please note that Carers Federation does not have official information on the COVID-19 vaccination process. For up to date information, please consult official UK Gov sources.

West College Scotland (WCS) achieves the Carers Federation Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) accreditation

West College Scotland (WCS) has become the first Scottish college to achieve the Carers Federation Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) accreditation, Carers Federation is delighted to announce.

The Carers Federation Quality Standard in Carer Support, developed by carers to provide accreditation and training for organisations, helps to raise awareness, remove some of the barriers for carers, develop appropriate policies and procedures and improve access to support. The QSCS demonstrates good practice in supporting carers in the wider community.

With 7,500-8,000 full-time students over four main campuses and five satellite sites, West College Scotland is the largest regional college in Scotland. They provide a wide-range of course and study pathways including distance learning, reaching up to 22,000 students overall across areas of high deprivation with low educational aspirations and achievement.

Naomi Sykes, QSCS Development Worker, Carers Federation Limited said:

“The Carers Federation Quality Standard in Carer Support (QSCS) accreditation demonstrates West College Scotland’s commitment to improving access to education for young and young adult carers.”

The Quality Standard criteria helps schools, colleges and universities develop effective processes to identify student carers and to improve their wellbeing, learning experiences and educational outcomes. Importantly, the process helps participating organisations to provide consistent provision of support and enables them to monitor the collective and individual outcomes for their students with caring roles.

Naomi added, “West College Scotland has developed comprehensive systems to ensure student carers are recognised and supported to achieve their aspirations and goals, raising awareness of young and young adult carers across the college and increasing understanding of the additional challenges they face in education.”

For more information on how your school, college or university can better support carers, please visit our QSCS page.

AYC: Flourish – a new project to empower young carers in Nottingham

Carers Federation is proud to announce a new project from Action for Young Carers: AYC: Flourish.

AYC: Flourish builds upon the fantastic work undertaken by Action For Young Carers over the COVID-19 pandemic, providing online cooking tutorials and lessons via zoom alongside local nutritionist and food safety expert, Rupert Aikman.

Over the coming months, AYC: Flourish will provide young carers and their families with more online cooking courses as part of a wider health and wellbeing package which will include exercise sessions, arts and crafts, mindfulness activities and life skills workshops.

The sessions kick off on June 1st with a Zoom cooking workshop for young people of primary school age, and Thursday June 3rd for those of secondary school age. Moving forward, as the lockdown roadmap allows and with careful consideration of the safety of everyone involved, other workshops will be a mix of in-person and online.

“Carers Federation is delighted to receive the funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation that allows us to continue with and expand our online cookery courses for young carers. These classes have proven to be very popular during lockdown and we’ll be using the funds to bring in additional online activities for these young people and their families,” said CEO Rob Gardiner.

The cooking sessions have been a huge success so far, with 50 young carers and families taking part over the course of the pandemic. The AYC team has adapted to very difficult circumstances and provided an invaluable sense of community and learning for young carers and their families, who otherwise were facing severe isolation as a result of the lockdown rules.

One young carer had a fantastic journey through the cooking classes:

“Thank you, thank you for running the cooking course. My young person has struggled terribly with anxiety over the past year, which accumulated in a long period out of school. She used to come to all your sessions pre Covid but she hadn’t accessed anything in over a year. Until now,” a parent told us.

I signed her up for the cooking course under her strict instructions that she wasn’t going to be on video and the mic was stayed off! The first session, she really struggled to even stay in the kitchen, never let alone engage in cutting or chopping. In fact she was so overwhelmed, she couldn’t be part of the second session! However over the coming weeks, she has got involved slowly which has accumulated in a fab last session this afternoon!

I wish I could have shown you the smile on her face when she took a bite of her burger that SHE made with very little help from me!! It put such a spring in her step! Thank you so much for all the wonderful work that you do with our young carers who often get overlooked due to the caring of others!”

Carers Federation gains new Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM)

Press release 29/04/2020

We are delighted to announce that Carers Federation has been awarded the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM) from the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi). The QPM is the UK’s only independent quality performance mark for organisations offering independent advocacy; an essential service for people who need support to express their needs and have increased choice and control in their lives.

To gain the QPM, independent advocacy providers have to undergo a rigorous self-assessment process and policy review. This is followed by a structured site visit for NDTi assessors to meet advocates and the people they support. As well it being good practice for Local Authorities to provide advocacy to people at risk of exclusion, commissioners are required to provide statutory independent advocacy under the Mental Capacity Act, Mental Health Act, and more recently the Care Act. The Advocacy QPM provides them with a robust benchmark to measure independent advocacy services, ensuring they select the very best providers.

Philip Kerr Contracts Manager North East NHS Independent Complaints Advocacy on behalf of Carers Federation Lt said:

“Carers Federation Ltd are delighted the dedication, resourcefulness and professionalism of our NHS Complaints Advocacy work has been recognised in the renewal of our Quality Performance Mark for another 3 years. It is an endorsement of the hard work of our Advocacy Team and their ability to adapt and constantly look for further opportunities to enhance our offering .It is particularly pleasing to note the areas of identified good practice. We feel it is important that the value of Advocacy is recognised in all quarters and the support that is available for vulnerable people. We do not take the achievement of the QPM lightly and will continue to champion it as a standard  for all Advocacy provision. The assessment process was fair, engaging and constructive with all parties able to express this within an understanding and supportive dialogue.”

Originally developed by Action for Advocacy (A4A), the Department of Health funded NDTi to review and revise the QPM in 2014, working with providers, users and commissioners of advocacy services. The application process was streamlined to be as straightforward as possible, while retaining the rigour required to ensure that high standards are met.  It is available to organisations providing independent advocacy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Further information can be accessed and applications can be made via www.qualityadvocacy.org.uk.

— ends —

Notes to editors

  • The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) is a not-for-profit social change organisation promoting inclusion and equality for people who risk exclusion and need support to lead a full life. It has a particular interest in issues around age, disability, mental health and children and young people. Further information is available online at www.ndti.org.uk.

For further press information contact marketing@carersfederation.co.uk


Carers Federation 2020.