Last chance to give feedback on strategy designed by carers for carers

Unpaid carers in Oxfordshire have until midnight tonight (Monday, 3 July) to give their thoughts on a renewed strategy designed to help support them to continue carrying out their vital caring role.

Oxfordshire County Council’s all-age unpaid carers strategy has been designed hand in hand with carers through a process called co-production, using their expertise and lived experience to make sure the framework is meaningful and beneficial.

The strategy has been open for consultation for the past month on the council’s Let’s talk Oxfordshire engagement platform and closes later today.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We are extremely grateful for the time, dedication and expertise of the carers we have worked with to produce this strategy.

“It is particularly pertinent that national co-production week begins today. This project has seen the council work together with carers as equals, making the best use of our combined strengths, building valuable relationships and producing a framework that we all believe will make a real difference to the thousands of unpaid carers here in Oxfordshire.”

The overall vision for the strategy is that unpaid carers of all ages in Oxfordshire are valued and living their best life. It makes specific commitments around properly identifying all carers and enabling them to have a fulfilled life away from their caring role.

Elsa Dawson, from Eynsham in Oxfordshire, has been central in developing the strategy, using her own experience as well as talking with other carers about how they can be better supported. Elsa’s daughter, Elisa, has Angelman Syndrome – a rare condition which causes epilepsy, affects speech development and results in daily health complications.

Elsa said: “It is so important that carers are given the support they need, helping them to live a life alongside caring. We’ve listened to more than one and a half thousand carers, each with a different story to tell, and brought this all together to form the strategy that’s currently being consulted on. We now need to hear back from carers to make sure we’ve got it right!”

Partners in health, education and social care, city and district councils and voluntary organisations, including Carers Oxfordshire, have also helped to create the final version of the strategy.

Alongside the council, they have agreed to work together to deliver a range of commitments. These include:

·       Ensuring carers can access breaks from their caring role to support their own wellbeing.

·       Carers are valued and treated as the experts in their lives and what they need to support their health and wellbeing.

·       Continuing to work with carers to keep the strategy up to date.

The commitments are inclusive of young carers under the age of 19 who may need additional support to look after themselves, particularly during times of change and transition.

The consultation will remain open until midnight tonight at letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/carers-strategy

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