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11 April 2022 at 11:32 am #16367GwenModerator
After having built the Facebook group ‘Learning Disability Families Wrexham’ (please see topic: Building a family carer support group in Wrexham) we looked at what the next step for this group would be in their journey to have effective working links with local authority. The Grapevine, is a group of family carers in RCT who over the last years have built solid communication lines with their local authorities and have been perfecting their way of working with the public sector.
Naturally, the next step became to link these two groups and set up a learning conversation! Please find below our meeting notes.
Want to join in? Comment below or get in contact! email@example.com
Effective Working Links with the Public Sector, with the Grapevine
Learning Conversation – 28th of March 2022
11am – 12:30pm
‘To connect learning and good practice from region to region in Wales for the benefit of family carers and share idea’s worth spreading’.
- During the pandemic, conversations with local authorities shut down. There isn’t a clear route to speak with people, who make the decisions. One-way information was a real issue in Wales
- There used to be a carer forum within Wrexham where people could regularly get together. The funding for this stopped and many carers couldn’t take on the role to lead it. Now, many groups are run by older parents in their 80s with nobody able to take on this role and make these group sustainable. Funding over longer-term continues to be an issue affecting these groups.
- There is currently no clear formal or informal ways for carers to speak with the local authority in Wrexham that the group are aware of and they feel information is only passed one-way at the moment.
- Example from Pembrokeshire- A new carer forum has been created. PAVS are helping to facilitate this forum and also host conversations with the local authority on key areas of concern
- Example from Swansea- There can be support from your local CVC but historically, lack of consistency in staffing has been an issue, with the burden of organising falling back onto carers
- Co-production sometimes is more like consultation. Despite attempts to do this creatively, it doesn’t always happen.
- Parent carers are constantly going through a cycle. There are a new cohort of younger families coming through having to battle some of the same battles as those before them. Meetings can often be a substitute for services.
- With the Welsh local elections coming up, now is a good time to make carers known and voice concerns and also offer solutions on how everybody can work better together.
- Families describe the small incremental changes as frustrating, with a continual need for families to address the next ‘big problem’ in the world of family carers leaving them frustrated further. Families also said that sometimes, fundamental changes in cultures and ways of working are needed
- Significant concerns about the on-going lack of services for families of people with disabilities and the families raising concerns about the equity of rights for people with learning disabilities. These concerns were noted by families from across Wales.
- Lack of significant progress in priority areas for families continues to be a source of frustration, with individual families continuing to advocate and challenge for their child’s rights.
- We need better communication methods for people to have their say. An example is of a center closing in Wrexham, what is happening to it? How do families have their say?
- It is really important that families in Wales are informed about any policy/legislation changes that will affect them. This needs to be available in an easy read format.
- Wrexham- Speak with NEWCIS & AVOW about building a carer group in Wrexham to work together to make change. Ask them to signpost any parent carers to the new Facebook page. Facilitate an online Zoom meeting for members of the Facebook group to have a conversation and discuss key concerns and what they would like out of the group. Connect with the CVC’s Third Sector Health & Well-being Facilitator.
- Share information on Regional Partnership Boards and their Carer Representative roles.
- Ensure parent carers on the agenda for the upcoming local council elections.
- Contact the Grapevine group for information on co-production and how they managed to get a monthly meeting with the local authority in RCT.
- Change has happened, and continues to happen in some areas. We all need to share clear information on what a difference parent carers have made in Wales and what has already been achieved. This will empower parents and bring them back into these conversations.
Questions for the Grapevine group:
- How do we move away from consultation to co-production?
- How do we engage with younger families and bring them into these conversations?
- How do we communicate effectively with statutory partners?
The Grapevine has replied to the last question:
How do we communicate effectively with statutory partners?
“The Grapevine has built up links with officers in the LA over time. We started by inviting relevant officers to our meetings when clarity/information was needed for members. Advice – Find out who is at the top! Once your foot is in the door and the group becomes known then things do become easier.
We now ensure we are represented in local meetings that are currently being held in RCT to develop services for our family members. (Transformation Programme). We are also represented in regional meetings.”
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