News and events

News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

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Raising awareness of the vital role of carers

Blue Background, illustrations from the Carers day, NELFT logos

An event to raise awareness of carers central role in the lives of patients, in the health system, and wider society was organised by the North East London Foundation Trust in Newbury Park last week.

Moving stories by carers were shared throughout the event, from the day-to-day challenges to the work underway at NELFT and across the NHS to achieve a culture of ‘carers first’. Educating frontline staff about the vital role of carers, support to navigate the complex social care system and empowering carers to advocate for their own needs as well as for their loved ones were the focus of the event.

A poem by Matthew McKenzie kickstarted the day and illustrator, Raquel Duran, from More than Minutes visually captured the key points discussed at the sessions. Carers of all ages and backgrounds spoke candidly about the support needed to fulfil their roles, recognition for their contribution and the importance of having their voices heard.

Support for the overall well-being, education, and development of young people with caring responsibilities, and a deeper understanding of how cultural identity shapes the needs of carers were discussed at the breakout sessions.

The powerful lived experiences of carers shared will shape the NELFT carers strategy.

Elizabeth Folarin, NELFT’s Associate Director of Social Work, Social Care & Carers, who attended the event and had personal experience of carer duties at a young age, said:

“Having been a young carer myself I struggled with my identity and doing young person things, especially as I was drawn into more caring responsibilities. I experienced a long of anger, guilt and shame that were hard to deal with.

“Sharing my own experience and hearing others’ perspectives has been cathartic on a personal level, but it also cemented my determination to ensure that carers of all ages get support to lead full lives.”

The event was organised as part of the Patients and Carers Race Equality Framework, an organisational competency framework to help services provide culturally appropriate care and work better with ethnic minority communities.

The Trust is aiming to change the experience of carers and will be launching a carers strategy in 2024. For more information, please go to:  Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF) | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust

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