One Big Day for West Sussex family and friend carers
On 29th April, Local Charity Carers Support West Sussex, West Sussex County Council, local NHS, and partners welcomed more than 150 West Sussex unpaid family and friend carers, and health professionals, to the One Big Day event at Fontwell Park.
The event was developed by carers, for carers and focussed on them being seen, heard, included, and supported in a world where finances are a challenge and systems, and services are stretched to the max.
Carers started their One Big Day hearing a Q&A session between Carers Support West Sussex CEO Sonia Mangan, and Kate Mosse OBE.
Kate Mosse is a novelist, non-fiction and short story writer and broadcaster. West Sussex resident, carer, author of ‘An Extra Pair of Hands – a story of caring & everyday acts of love’ – in which Kate talked about her personal experience of being a carer, the impact of the pandemic on carers, and shared some anecdotes that everyone in the room could relate to.
Watch and listen here: vimeo.com
Carers and professionals involved in One Big Day
Dame Philippa Russell DBE – a long-term family carer for her adult son with learning disabilities and brain damage, and for her husband who died at the start of the pandemic after many years of living with Lewy Body dementia, cancer, and heart failure.
She is Vice-President of Carers UK and a Board member of TLAP and SEEFA (the Southeast Forum on Ageing) and was Chair of the Government’s Standing Commission on Carers and a member of the Carers Action Plan Advisory Group.
Emily Holzhausen OBE – Director of Policy and Public Affairs for Carers UK, and leads on policy, parliamentary, research and media work. She has worked on numerous pieces of legislation, campaigning for and securing carers’ rights as well as protecting them. She leads Carers Week, one of the UK’s biggest awareness weeks involving thousands of local events.
Dr. Neil Churchill OBE – Director for Experience, Participation and Equalities at NHS England and NHS Improvement, having joined the NHS after a 25-year career in the voluntary sector. Major initiatives include NHS Commitments to Carers and volunteering in the NHS.
Jane Green MA Ed exAHT – a professional educationalist lead for autism, championing health, education, social care, employment, transport issues in Ehlers-Danlos. She offers advice as a longstanding carer, and adviser as advocate nationally on health and social care.
There were also helpful sessions during One Big Day by experts in caring-related legal matters, and Carer benefits from: Amanda Attrell – a member of Bennett Griffin’s Care, Capacity and Court of Protection Team. She helps individuals, their families, and carers to navigate the legal care sector.
Martin Yarde – the Carers Support West Sussex Benefits Advisor, having previously worked for Citizens Advice. Carers Voice Network.
Watch and listen here: www.carerssupport.org.uk/obd-livestreams
‘Me time’ carer sessions and after-thoughts of One Big Day
• In the Wellbeing Zone – Carers enjoyed reiki, satin hand moisturising, reflexology and mini-gel manicure, and an introduction to mindfulness.
• In the Activity Zone – Carers enjoyed mini terracotta plant pot painting
• In the Young Carer Zone – our under 18-years old Carers enjoyed a dance and a film-making workshop.
Sonia Mangan, CEO Carers Support West Sussex said: “I am always humbled by the breadth of carers experiences and their willingness to share what works and what doesn’t with decision makers and each other. One BIG Day was just one of the many ways that we, our partners from across West Sussex, NHS Sussex, and West Sussex County Council that we can offer carers to be together.
“The day was full of honesty which at times made us sad but also full of hope and celebration at being able together again. We always learn from each other and make a difference, but it was wonderful to physically stand together in solidarity.”
Mark Greening, Carers Lead Commissioner from West Sussex County Council said: “At the event I did have a chance to meet a number of carers and they were all full of praise, not only for a great day but also for all the opportunities to reconnect with other carers again.
“To hear and see the group of young carers enjoying their workshops was a particular delight. Now there is a lot of work ahead to further the aims of the West Sussex Joint Commitment to Carers. To be a county which fully recognises, values and supports the role carers, of all ages play.”