Working together with partners to support carers

Fife has a rich heritage of working with voluntary organisations and charities. Fife’s carers benefit from a wide range of professional carer organisations supporting them.  The Health & Social Care Partnership is proud to work with these voluntary organisations who make a massive contribution to supporting carers across the Kingdom, for example, Fife Carers Centre.

Mhairi Lochhead, Manager at Fife Carers Centre said, “We are really pleased to be part of the events and celebrations to recognise carers this week. However, we know that being a carer is not just for this week and for some carers it’s something they do all day, every day.  Fife Carers Centre is here to help.

We have been offering support to unpaid carers for nearly 25 years. During that time we have seen the number of carers increase, and the challenged the face become ever more complex.  It’s for that reason that the support we offer, right across Fife, has developed to include some quite specialist elements.  As well as the general information, advice, guidance and support we offer free of charge across all of Fife’s local areas, we also offer independent advocacy support, specialist help for carers of people with dementia, support to give carers a voice at Victoria and Queen Margaret Hospitals and an outreach support service for carers from diverse ethnicities and cultures, such as the traveller population.

We work closely in partnership with the other carer organisations in Fife including Fife Young Carers to ensure carers’ best interests are severed. I encourage any carer who needs some support to get in touch when the time is right for them.  Visit our web-site, www.fifecarerscentre.org/, call us on 01592 205472 or visit us at our office on Commercial Street, Kirkcaldy.”

In addition to the Fife Carers Centre, Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife have recently launched a financial well-being and income maximization support specifically for carers. This new service complements the wide range of support CARF previously offered.

Respite Fife, Crossroads Fife and Homelands all offer support to carers to take short breaks from their caring routines, giving carers much needed time for themselves, to recharge and live well alongside their caring role.

Our partners are supported by Fife Voluntary Action who represent a much wider set of charities and voluntary organisations across Fife. More information about each of these partners is available by linking from the Fife Health & Social Care Partnership’s web-site, www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org/carers/support-for-carers-from-our-partners/

Carers – new Income Maximisation Support launched

Carers are often at a financial disadvantage because of their caring situation. They may not be able to take up work, or only be able to work part-time.  They may not be receiving the benefits to which they are entitled or may be which the person they care for is entitled.  This is the reason we have teamed up with Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) to launch our new Income Maximisation Support for Carers.

CARF are specialists in offering personalised support to help people maximise the access to their rights. This independent support for carers helps them to ensure they receive all the benefits they may be entitled to, and if necessary, to support and advocate on their behalf to appeal decisions which they feel are incorrect.  The service can also help carers to understand the financial benefits of taking paid work and can work with carers to developed a personalized ‘better off calculation’.  This support is free, and available for anyone who defines themselves as a carer.  The service supports carers in their experience as a carer and is in addition to other supports available to carers through other partners.

David Redpath, Business Development Manager with Citizen’s Advice and Rights Fife said, “We are delighted to be able to offer support to Fife’s carers. Our work with unpaid carers has shown us that sometimes they are challenged by the welfare benefits system and the additional costs that caring for someone can bring.  This partnership between CARF and Fife’s Health & Social Care Partnership, means we can increase the offer of specialist support to carers who need it.  We are confident that, with our support, many carers will get those benefits they are rightly entitled to, feel more valued and be financially better off.

Visit www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org/carers/ or www.cabfife.org.uk/ for more information about the advice and support available for carers.

Carers – what more can we do to support you?

Carers week provides us with the opportunity to check with carers what more we can do to support them.

Carers have reported that they have an increase in the intensity of the care they provide. 20% of carers are over 65 years young.  The majority are working age and hold down a job and other family commitments while also providing care.  One in 10 carers in Fife are not able to take part in work due to their caring responsibilities.  And we know that carers are more likely than average to have their own health conditions.

Over the last year we have made some significant improvements in how we support carers and what support is available. We know we can do more.  We commit to doing more and continuing to make a positive investment to support carers.

This carers week gives us the idea opportunity to take stock and reflect on what we have done and what more we need to do. We are aware that we are not reaching every carer but why this is the case is less clear.  We also know that not everyone who provides unpaid carer wants to have the label of ‘carer’.

Michael Kellet, Director of Health and Social Care said, “Since the Carers Act was introduced in April 2018 we have made investments in a range of new supports for carers. This new investment was designed to support carers to help themselves.  We understand that most carers will not want direct help, but some need guidance and support to access the right sources of support for themselves.  This journey started last year with new advocacy support for all carers and additional support for carers at Fife’s two main hospitals, both free at the point of access.  This year we continue with that support and add new free support available to all carers across Fife.  During this Carers Week we are launching our income maximisation support for carers, befriending support for young carers and a new digital resource in partnership with Carers Scotland.  And we have launched our new carers’ web-site with a wide range of information and guidance available to all carers.

We know we can do more and in the coming years we hope to be able to enhance the current offer as we continue our journey to support the many fantastic carers in Fife. We’ve had to make some tough choices but our investment is strongly influenced by carers.  Their voice is important and it’s for that reason that today we are launching our carers experience survey.  Carers are the best people to tell us what we need to improve.  I encourage all carers in Fife to take part, tell us what works well and what we could do differently or better.  We will use this to shape the support we make available over time.

This short survey gives carers a real voice and a chance to influence change. This survey asks carers to tell us their story, what the impact of caring has been for them, what works well, and what we could do to support them better.  Visit the new the Health and Social Care carer website to share your opinions. www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org/carers/

Getting it right for young carers – there’s lots of support available

Our young carers (up to the age of 18 years) and our young adult carers (up to 25 years) contribute a huge amount to our local communities. There are estimated to be over 6000 young carers in Fife as highlighted during a recent education pupilwise survey (2017/18). Some of our most hidden young carers are providing high levels of care as well as trying to study for school and/or work.

To raise awareness of young carers and adult young carers across services, Fife Young Carer’s has launched ‘join our chain’.  This information video focuses on keeping young carers connected, which is one of the main drivers of Getting it right for Young Carers in Fife Strategy (2018 – 2021).  Please visit www.fifeyoungcarers.co.uk for more information or follow Fife Young Carers on social media.

Getting it right for young carers in Fife Strategy was launched in October 2018. During carers week we will link in with young carers across Fife to gain their views about support available and if the strategy is having an impact. It is also an opportunity to remind young carers about new service developments available to them. Hospital discharge service for carers, joint advocacy service and befriending service to support young carers to get a break from their caring role. This will be done via online survey in schools and via Fife Young Carers.  If you are a young carer school young carer champion in school for more information.

Authorisation cards are available to all young carers in Fife. This is an identity card that helps them to access information and support. The card has two uses, one to help young people get support in school and the other to show that the person they care for has given consent to share medical information with the young person. This allows social workers, nurses, doctors and other health staff to have discussions with young carers about the person they look after and helps teachers understand their situation. Please visit wwwfifedirect.org.uk/young carers for more information.

The time for me! Fund is another great source of support to young carers. Fife Council has developed this fund to improve the range of opportunities for young carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities.  The fund can be used to help children and young people access activities that are important to them.  While we should not automatically assume that caring for others is a negative experience we must recognise that it can restrict young peoples’ lives, and limit their experiences and opportunities as they grow up. Please visit wwwfifedirect.org.uk/young carers for more information

When speaking to young carers about their own needs, over half of the consultation group discussed their emotional wellbeing and this was highlighted as being most important. A new befriending service has been developed to support young carers with their mental health. Part of this service is to provide support to young carers, specifically during the summer break when they feel most isolated. It also helps young carers balance more time for themselves by helping them to access activities that are important to them. Please visit www.fifeyoungcarers.co.uk for details of this new service. For general advice on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing please visit www.handsonscotland.co.uk

Supporting the 35,000 carers in Fife

This week we celebrate the magnificent role that unpaid carers play in our society. Unpaid carers play a major role in Fife.  One in every three people will be a carer at some time in their life.  Fife has more than 35,000 adult carers, that’s 10% of Fife’s entire population.  And nearly half of them spend over 20 hours a week caring for someone else.

We all need help from time to time. Carers are no different.  Fife’s Health & Social Care Partnership has invested in new sources of support to help carers live a happy and fulfilled life alongside their caring role.  Central to this is the offer to create an individual Adult Carer Support Plan with carers.

Morna Fleming, the Carers’ Representative on the Health & Social Care Partnership Board and a former carer herself said, “I know from personal experience the significant commitment that carers give to support loved ones, family members and other members of their local community. Carers play an important role in Fife and have for a long time gone that extra mile to lend a hand.  But sometimes carers need a bit of support themselves.  Carers week provides us with a really good opportunity to raise general awareness of carers, to celebrate their hard work, and to support them.  As the carers’ representative on the Health & Social Care Partnership Board I know that carers voices needs to be heard.  With well over 35,000 Fifers identifying themselves as a carer, and at least the same number again who are providing care but do not identify themselves as a carer, Carers Week gives us the change to raise the profile, invite carers to come forward if they need some support, and thank all carers for their important contribution”.

For more information about the support that is available for carers in Fife visit the new the Health and Social Care carer website. www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org/carers/

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It’s Carers Week – let’s celebrate the outstanding work they do

Fife Carers and Young Carers make a vital contribution to our communities and do an outstanding job in supporting a family member or friend.

Over the coming week there will be many opportunities for you to get involved in raising awareness of the important role they play. Please check out what’s on in your area.

If you are a carer and would like information on what supports available for you, why not pop into the Carers Gathering on Wednesday 12 June at the Strathearn Hotel, Kirkcaldy between 1pm and 3pm. There will be representatives from care organisations on hand to provide advice.

Our Young Carers also have a great deal going on this week – visit Fife’s Young Carers for more information. Hear more from our young carers and how to Join our chain.

 

Our dementia friends are making a difference

It’s Dementia Friendly Awareness Week, and Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership took this opportunity to say thanks to the local businesses and organisations that have become dementia friendly premises and to the thousands of Fifers who have become dementia friends.

At the event, held at Fife Voluntary Action in Glenrothes, local business and organisations joined together to hear how their involvement in dementia awareness is making a difference in local communities. Gerald King, who is living with dementia shared his experience of being diagnosed at only 55 and the impact that this has had on him and his nearest and dearest. Anna May and Masie Dury also shared what it has been like for them losing their grandad, Papa Jack. Anna May talked about their changing roles over the years and Masie sang a song she wrote for her grandad.

“This has been very inspirational – to hear from those living with dementia is powerful. And seeing so many local businesses and organisations here today is testament to how people feel about dementia and how they want to help. Making our communities dementia friendly is a key priority and we will continue with the good work we have achieved to make this happen” added Councillor David Graham, Spokesperson, Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership.

Over the past six months, Ruth McCabe, Project Manager for Health and Social Care Partnership has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of dementia and reduce the stigma that surrounds it. To date over 150 businesses and organisations have become dementia friendly – and in many cases this has involved changing their environment to make it dementia friendly. 4,500 Fifers have done the dementia friendly training, learning about things to help make life easier for those living with dementia, and their families, friends and carers, in daily activities.

“I am really proud of what we have achieved. The support from Fifers and local business and organisations has been outstanding and the success of this initiative is down to working together. Over the next 18 months we hope to make all communities in Fife dementia friendly and I encourage more of the business community and individuals to get involved”, said Ruth.

There is over 6,000 people in Fife living with dementia and with a growing and aging population this figure will increase.

“Dementia affects one in three of us. We can all do our bit to ensure that those living with dementia can access the same facilities and services they have always used, ultimately making it easier for those living with dementia to stay independent, for as long as possible. Today’s ceremony has been very moving and humbling and thanks everyone involved,” said Michael Kellet, Director Health and Social Care Partnership.

Public Health Scotland consultation – have your say

Public health reform is a partnership between Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). Scotland’s public health priorities, were published in the summer of 2018, and were the first milestone in our reform journey.

The priorities reflect a consensus across Scotland on the things we must focus on if we are to improve health and wellbeing and reduce long-standing inequalities.

The establishment of Public Health Scotland will be the next major milestone in reform. Public Health Scotland will play a role in helping to make change happen, supporting activity against the priorities. The new organisation will launch on 1 April 2020.

Public Health Scotland will:

  • Provide strong public health leadership. It will be Scotland’s lead national agency for improving and protecting health and wellbeing
  • Support the wider public health system providing high quality national expertise across the health improvement, health protection and health care public health functions. The body will also provide national leadership in relation to research, innovation and the development of the public health workforce.
  • Working in a collaborative way across the whole system, provide support and capacity to help others to take action together
  • Have a clear focus on supporting local partnerships and communities through the innovative use of intelligence, data and evidence
  • Provide independent advice and support to national and local government, local authorities the NHS and the wider public health system.

Have Your Say

Public Health Scotland’s role is to support and enable the wider public health system. Its success will be judged not just in terms of how well we are able to improve the health of the people of Scotland, but also in how it works collaboratively with partners, communities and the wider system.

The Scottish Government, in partnership with COSLA has published a six week consultation seeking views on Public Health Scotland and the necessary legislative changes that are required to establish the body. The consultation will focus on a number of areas including:

  • Governance and accountability
  • Outcomes and performance
  • Functions and structure
  • Future relationships with the wider public health system.

The consultation is open until Monday 8 July 2019. To find out more and to take part visit the Consultation Hub.

 

 

Delivering Differently for the people of Fife

Returning to work after a mental health problem can sometimes be daunting but with support, those affected can, wheDelivering Differently teamn ready, make the journey back to work more easily.

In Scotland alone it is estimated that mental health problems cost £10.7 billion, taking into account of social and care costs, economic outputs and human costs. Data for Fife shows a direct correlation between economic and employment deprivation and long-term mental health problems.

That’s why today, in mental health awareness week, Fife has launched the Final Report of Delivering Differently – an 18 month project to improve the outcomes for people with mental health problems in Fife, which has been funded by Scottish Government’s Employability Innovation and Integration Fund.

Fife Voluntary Action is leading the project, working with Fife’s Health and Social Care and Opportunities Fife Partnerships, along with input from a range of partners including local third sector organisations, businesses and, crucially, people who have a lived experience of mental health problems.

Differing Differently has undertaken significant research into what drives high unemployment levels for people with mental health problems and supported a raft of practical actions to address this from: growing aspiration and peer role models; growing specialist employability provision; making services easier to access; and working with employers to create mentally healthy workplaces in Fife.

At today’s Joint Mental Health and Employability Forum, in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, the Delivering Differently team presented information on the research findings to over 160 people. The event celebrated the learning from nine pilot fund projects and engaged staff and service users in what needs to happen next.

Gordon Mole, Chief Officer for Business and Employability, Fife Council said, “We’re exceptionally pleased with the results that Delivering Differently have been able to deliver in a short space of time. The project has engaged with a wide range of agencies, providers and businesses and is an excellent example of partnership working. Practical help for companies, such as the Just: Ask Listen Talk toolkit, helping managers to support their workforce with mental health problems, demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.”

Michael Kellet, Director of Fife’s Health and Social Care Partnership added, “Improving the mental health and wellbeing for the people of Fife is a key priority for the Partnership. Delivering Differently has made great progress in understanding and addressing the issues relating to mental ill health and employment. The involvement of people with lived experience has been invaluable and has been key to the success of the project.”

Pegs Bailey, Strategic Coordinator for Delivering Differently said – ‘It has been an honour to work with so many amazing people on this project. Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time. If it happened to me I know I would want to be supported to get back on my feet, and to know that work would be a possibility in my future again’.

The Delivering Differently team has received funding from See Me to continue their work improving outcomes and tackling stigma associated with mental health. The funds will support the recruitment and coordination of a team of volunteers who have had experience of mental health issues.

 

Mental health awareness – looking good!

Body image and how we feel about our bodies has been the focus of this week’s mental health awareness. Last year the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they are overwhelmed and unable to cope. That’s one in every three people.

Body image issues can affect all of us at any age and impact on our mental health and there is a lack of research and understanding around this. We are intimately aware of the particular quirks of our own body; its strengths, wonders and limitations. And yet for too many of us, our bodies are sources of shame and distress. From an early age we are bombarded with images that define what an ‘ideal body’ looks like. The Mental Health Foundation wants to ignite a national conversation about how we can be kinder to our bodies as a guard against the individual, family and cultural influences that can lead to a worrying and sometime debilitating sense of dissatisfaction with our bodies. What we do know is that self-acceptance and self-esteem are crucial to good mental health. Comparing ourselves to others, either online or real life, can undermine these things giving rise to feelings of inadequacy.

The good news is that we can tackle body image through what children learn in school, by the way we talk about our bodies and policy change at a government level.

More info body image can be found at www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Looking for training?

The Health Promotion Team run a number of training courses including:

  • Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid
  • Mentally Healthy Workplace training for managers
  • Eat well, be active, feel good
  • Building self-esteem for young people

Courses start from September 2019 at venues across Fife. Visit www.healthyfife.net for more information.