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Message from Erik Scollay - Supporting Middlesbrough's carers

I need everyone to take just a couple of minutes to think about carers – this isn’t just about Adult Social Care, it’s relevant right across the Council.   We’re not talking this time about the carers we employ and pay to support vulnerable people, we’re talking here about informal carers…… the hundreds of thousands of adults, and sometimes young people, across our country who find themselves in the position of providing care and support to family members, friends and relatives. 

Often when we attend training it’s easy to think about the subject as being about things that happen to other people, a subtle “them and us” can creep in.  This however is not so with the topic of carers as there is no “them”, it’s just “us”.  In our lifetimes most of us will be informal carers or the recipients of informal care, many of us already are or have been carers.   

On many occasions carers don’t even realise that they are carers; often people say “I’m not a carer, I’m a husband”, or, “I’m a daughter”.  Sometimes the very use of the word “carer” causes pain because it forces the carer to acknowledge that their relationship with their loved-one is more complicated and challenging than they would have expected or hoped it to be.  On the other hand, for some carers the recognition is liberating as it validates how challenging their life has become.  

Given the complexity hinted at above it becomes clear that the challenge facing us is not only the challenge of our legal duty to identify and provide support to carers in order to make their roles sustainable.  I would argue the bigger challenge is the ethical one of how we recognise the human challenges that we all face not only as professionals, but also as sons; daughters; mothers; fathers; brothers; friends; colleagues to really listen to and consider our shared experience as carers or as recipients of care.   

Please do consider the fascinating rage of training that’s being made available, the more we understand the different dimensions of caring, the better we will be at recognising and supporting the carers that our town and communities rely so heavily on.   

The sessions are about two hours long and take place via Teams and are at varying times and days of the week. The sessions aim to improve carer awareness among colleagues, who may be in a caring role themselves, or would like to know what services are available to support carers locally.  MBC staff: To find out more or to book a place on one of the carers training sessions click here.  

Thank you  
Erik Scollay