The EfC summer networking event on 28th June, kindly hosted by Transport for London (TfL) at their modern offices in Southwark, was a great opportunity to hear about the range of activities held, and initiatives launched, by our members during Carers Week.
Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport and senior sponsor of TfL’s Carers Network welcomed guests to the event. This was followed by an introduction from EfC Chair Ian Peters who welcomed our newest members since the last event in March: Carers Trust Cambridgeshire and DWF.
Karen Venn, Diversity and Inclusion Business Manager and Jacqui Robb, Business Support, Track and Civils, from Network Rail introduced their new line manager resource ‘Everyone managing bereaved employees’. The guide is designed to help line managers support people through bereavement (at any one time, around 1 in 10 employees are likely to be affected by bereavement, following the death of a colleague, friend, relative or partner). In Carers Week, Network Rail re-launched their line manager Carers Guide.
Sonia Thomas, Deputy Chair of TFL’s carers network spoke about the range of Carers Week events that they were holding across their four London offices – she highlighted the power of personal stories of caring at work and the importance of peer support. The network reaches carers through monthly meet-ups as well as using Yammer (an internal social networking site) and the TfL intranet. Yammer is particularly useful as many of TfL’s operational staff in tube stations can use their iPads to connect to Yammer and therefore join in the conversation outside of the head offices.
A lively discussion followed, including a contribution from Juliana Francis, Senior Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service. Juliana spoke about the importance of having truly authentic champions across all workplace networks. Their recent initiatives include a ‘reverse mentoring’ programme for their executive champions and the introduction of Carers Passports (with thanks to the help received from EfC, as well as their own carers network).
Madeleine Starr, Business Development & Innovation Director at Carers UK told how Carers UK is raising awareness of the technology available to make caring easer. Simple devices and apps can help someone live independently for longer or give you peace of mind when you can't be around.
During the event summary, Ian Peters spoke about the increasing interest in the work of EfC internationally – the UK is seen as the leader in the field of engaging businesses with supporting working carers and creating ‘carer proof’ workplaces. Ian has also written the forward to a book written by Carers UK’s Chair, David Grayson, CBE and Professor of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield University School of Management. The book, entitled ‘Take Care’ is due to be published later in July.
Please select the links below to download slides and to watch a Carers UK video shown during the event: