The first Wales Hub Employers for Carers (EfC) Networking Event was held on 18th October 2018 in the centre of Cardiff at Sports Wales, Sophia Gardens. This inaugural event included a mixture of existing EfC members with a Welsh presence, new Wales Hub members and employers across Wales interested to learn more about EfC and how to implement carer friendly practices.
The event was opened by Claire Morgan, Director, Carers Wales, and chaired by Sara Williams, Wales Hub Manager for EfC who welcomed the first four members to the Hub: DVLA, South Wales Police, Cardiff Council and the first ever partner member, Hywel Dda Health Board joining forces with Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion local authorities (this unique offering of a partner member will ensure that all SMEs, health board and council employees and GPs and clinics across the Hywel Dda area will have access to EfC membership resources).
Claire provided the context of key issues facing carers across Wales focussing specifically on the issues experienced by carers of working age. These consisted of a reduction in overall finances by reducing hours or leaving work, a potential decrease in state and personal pension contributions impacting on future security and increased loneliness and isolation from peers.
Two member organisations shared their organisational and personal experiences; Philip Farrelly, Nationwide Building Society talked about their good practice initiatives to support carers in their workplace and how thrilled he was to announce that Nationwide are now implementing a carers passport. These were some truly inspirational insights which prompted some thought provoking conversations in the networking later on. We also heard from Sharon Sherlock-Jones, Centrica, who outlined her experience as a working carer and how British Gas have supported her through her caring journey ensuring she can attend medical appointments with her daughter and have the flexibility that she needs. A big thank you to Sharon for sharing her personal story; which so many at the event could identify with.
Sara Williams, Wales Hub Manager, summarised the event highlighting that the starting point for all organisations is creating a culture of caring, ensuring caring is talked about more within the workplace. The formal part of the event ended with a call to action for every organisation present to go back and implement some form of activity for Carers Rights Day. The presentations were followed by a lively informal networking session with discussion on issues such as issues experienced introducing carer passports, the balance between emergency and planned carers leave and how best to raise awareness of carers across the workforce.
Our next Wales Hub networking event will be in March 2019, further details to follow soon. If you would like to present at the event and share your organisation’s progress, experiences or policies, please contact us at email@example.com