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!”

Action for Young Carers Team deliver meals to Young Carer Families

With lockdown restrictions ongoing, many in our communities are struggling to get basic supplies. That’s why our Action for Young Carers team spent a busy afternoon yesterday delivering 45 hot, freshly prepared meals to some of the Young Carers and Nottingham Works Families we are supporting.

But we couldn’t have done it without our excellent community partners. Big shout out to Sewa Day (twitter: @sewaday) for providing the ingredients and thanks to Larwood and Voce (twitter: @LarwoodVocePK) for cooking it all up for us. We would also like to thank Hetvi (twitter: @hetvi_sw) for coordinating our efforts.

Social distancing measures were strictly adhered to and we think they all look rather fetching in their masks, don’t you?

AYC deliver food to Young Carers

Fashion statements aside, AYC want to let you know that they are still offering support to Young Carers and their families. For more information, please see our Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and website

If you are a young person living in Nottingham City wondering if you are a young carer, take our short questionnaire here:

The AYC team and community partners will be delivering more food again next week.

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

— 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

For further press information contact

Carers Federation 2020.

Run For Heroes Raises £1m for NHS Workers

The Run For Heroes campaign, which challenges people to run 5k and donate £5, has broken the £1m barrier and continues to raise money for NHS workers currently battling COVID-19.

To take part, you simply need to go out for a run on your daily exercise. Then you can tag a few friends in social media (5 sounds about right doesn’t it?) and challenge them to do the same. That’s £30 raised for charity and everyone’s got some nice healthy exercise. Win-win.

“During these uncertain times, like many, we wanted to find a positive way to help the fight against COVID-19. When we were out running during our daily exercise allocation, we realised how many others were doing the same, ” say Olivia, India and Alice – the brains behind the operation – on the website.

“So we thought – Could we donate our one hour of daily exercise to the NHS staff who are working tirelessly to protect us? If we’re all exercising anyway, let’s do it for a fantastic cause. Let’s do it for our NHS heroes. Let’s help them help us.”

NHS staff are currently working around the clock to deal with the steady stream of patients due to Coronavirus, but with lockdown measures in place for three weeks, the British public are hopeful that their actions will help flatten the curve and ease the pressure on the NHS.

Are you going to take part? Tag us in your post-run pic and we’ll be sure to share it.

Tips for a Productive Home Working Environment

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of people to rethink their working environment. Many businesses, charities and organisations have had no choice but to move their workforce to a work-from-home scenario. For some of us, this hasn’t meant a stark change; some offices have always offered a remote-working option and many will be used to the routine. However, the vast majority will now have to figure out how to carry out their work at home. This is no small challenge with the added pressures of childcare and social isolation. But, it is not impossible! Here are our five top tips for successfully working from home:

Have a permanent workspace

A common misconception of “WFH” days is that people “work from bed” or in their pyjamas. This is not the case. Anyone who works from home regularly will tell you that having an allotted desk space is a must. Having a set work space helps you get into the right frame of mind for productivity, and it can help you differentiate between your work day ending and your free time starting. Finishing work at 5pm and being in the same place (or same set of pyjamas…) isn’t great for morale!

Structure, Structure, Structure

Many workplaces have relaxed their working hours now that remote working is the ‘norm’. But, whatever your working hours are, try your best to stick to them. This isn’t easy for people with children, or those with other caring responsibilities. Nevertheless, where possible, stick to a routine. Try and make sure you get up at the same time every day, have a lunch break and regular – scheduled – breaks for exercise.

Move around!

That brings us nicely onto our third tip, which is: don’t stay sat down staring at screens all day! Stretching is important, and is encouraged for office working generally to alleviate chronic health problems and avoid burnout. Now you can have a big stretch and groan/shout without being embarrassed or disturbing half the office. Do anything you can for a brief change of scenery – take advantage of your one exercise outing a day, do yoga, or take a short trip to the garden if you have one.

Be in touch

No doubt your employers will have created a communication tool for you to keep in touch – something a little more immediate than e-mail. Whether it’s Teams, Slack, Zoom or a combination of all three, make sure you’re checking in on your colleagues and that they’ll check in on you. Communication can be difficult at the best of times, so it’s really important to make the extra effort when we’re all miles apart.

Take advantage of online training

There is an unprecedented level of empty time that comes with working from home in this scenario. The rules have changed and there are things you simply won’t be able to do anymore depending on your role. At the very least, lockdown probably means significantly less commuting time! If you’ve found yourself at a loose end without any work to do, see if your line manager can arrange some of that online training you’ve been meaning to do for the past three years – the one you keep mentioning in your appraisal! Likewise, if you’re stuck for something to do on an evening, widen your horizons with distance-learning courses in subjects you’re passionate about.

No one really has all the answers for fully effective working during a lockdown – we all have different roles and demands, and the pandemic is something we have never experienced before. But, as a starting point, these basic tips will stand you in good stead as you adapt to you new home-working adventure.

Welsh Care Home Residents Quarantine in Style with Game of Giant Hungry Hippos

Residents and staff at the Bryn Celyn Care Home cheered up the nation last week amidst the Coronavirus lockdown, proving that being inside doesn’t necessarily equal boredom.

The residents, who are as young as – 80 and as old as 102 – remained in their wheelchairs while the care home staff pushed them into the middle of circle where they tried to gobble up as many multicoloured balls as possible.

Despite being at greater risk compared to most of us, these residents weren’t about to let the Coronavirus blues get to them. As as General manager of Bryn Celyn, Michelle Williams, is keen to remind us, they’re not oblivious to what’s going on outside their care home.

“We just did it to cheer them up,” she said. “We try to be as positive as we can – we don’t want to walk around all doom and gloom. There’s enough doom and gloom out there. We’re just trying to keep things as normal and have fun, keep smiling and make sure our residents have fun and are safe. They know what’s going out there.”

Have you and your family been playing any inventive games? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. And if you’re in need or any help or advice, we’ve set up a general COVID-19 page with information. And there are pages on health and wellbeing, shopping and finances too.